Arizona ‘Ballot Review’ Demonstrates Why We Must Protect the Freedom to Vote

Sister Quincy Howard, OP
September 24, 2021

Today we saw the end of a costly, partisan, and unreliable review of Arizona’s Maricopa Country ballots. Shortly after the 2020 election, this nearly $6 million ballot review was initiated by a small number of partisan extremists over the objections of the Republican-led county leadership. Repercussions and anti-voter initiatives like this one might be the single most insidious tactic to undermine voter confidence growing out of the 2020 election.

According to the Washington Post, “the Florida-based firm that led the review, Cyber Ninjas, had never before been involved in administering an election or recount” and “by May, all of Maricopa’s seven elected officials — including five Republicans — joined to demand the Senate put an end to the review, calling it a ‘con’ and a ‘sham.’”

We know that states often serve as laboratories to innovate and improve our democratic systems. For example, Colorado’s experience with vote-by-mail systems provided tips and best practices for states across the nation conducting elections last winter in the midst of a deadly pandemic.  Sadly, states can also serve as laboratories for sabotage, which is what we’re seeing in Arizona—and other states like Georgia and Wisconsin are watching closely to see if this shameless power-grab will work.

This was a partisan attempt to cast doubt on our elections. Proper election reviews are 1) fully transparent and fully observable; 2) have proper procedures in advance; 3) conducted by bipartisan teams; maintain the integrity of voting machines and ballots; and maintain chain of custody of ballots throughout. It has been widely documented that none of these critical procedures and guidelines are being followed in the sham election reviews.

This is another example of the GOP dividing and distracting the people while undermining trust in our elections. The entire endeavor was birthed and conducted based on the “Big Lie” (that the Arizona and the presidential election was stolen). The operation conducted by Cyber Ninjas has been illegitimate from its original rationale rooted in the lie of voter fraud to its financing by mysterious dark money sources to the contractor, an obscure Florida tech company with hard partisan leanings and no prior elections experience.

Some politicians want to pick and choose which votes to count to decide the results of elections for themselves. The Arizona operation has made clear that our democracy needs additional protections to ensure that trusted local election officials count every vote—that the results of elections are held sacred and protected from partisan manipulation. The Freedom to Vote Act—the newly-introduced bill that would ensure fair representation and make the promise of democracy real for us all—has adds needed protections to the transformative reforms included in S.1 the For the People Act.

Whatever our color, background or zip code, in the United States we value our freedom and the right to vote. The freedom to have a say in decisions that impact our lives—from curbing the pandemic to creating jobs to making health care affordable. But right now, the same faction that spread lies about COVID and election, and fueled the deadly attack on our Capitol are trying to block the Freedom to Vote Act, which U.S. voters support by huge margins across race, place, and political ideology.

NETWORK and our advocates are demanding that our leaders exercise their majority and pass the Freedom To Vote Act. It would set national standards for safely and freely casting our ballots, ensure that trusted local election officials count every vote, and prevent state lawmakers from sabotaging our elections in order to take and hold power. The Freedom to Vote Act is a critical step to ensure that, in our elections, the will of the people prevails.


Take Action: Call Your Senator Now! Tell Them to Vote YES on S.2747, the Freedom to Vote Act

The Freedom to Vote Act is an important step to protect the sacred right to vote after months of delay and obstruction. The Freedom to Vote Act contains the main pillars of the For the People Act, including protecting the right to vote, ending partisan gerrymandering, and decreasing the power of big moneyed special interests. Call 888-885-1748 to be connected to your Senators. (Call twice to be connected to both Senate offices.)