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OPINION

Governor Hobbs Thumbs Nose at Election Integrity and American Manufacturing

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool

The integrity of our electoral process is vital to maintaining the foundations of democracy. Reliable and secure voting machines play a crucial role in the faith, trust, and confidence of our elections. Knowing and understanding this, the Arizona Legislature just passed H.B. 2613, which would have mandated voting machines used in state elections be made in America. Furthermore, this legislation would have required all those voting machines to have 100% of their parts and components sourced and assembled in the U.S.

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Unfortunately for the people of Arizona, Governor Hobbs vetoed the legislation. In doing so, she turned her back on American manufacturing and election integrity.

The call for products to be made in America is not new. In fact, during his State of the Union address in 2023, President Biden emphasized the importance of domestic manufacturing, highlighting how American-made products would benefit the country’s economy and ensure national security. The proposed legislation in Arizona would have aligned with this vision, as it promoted the manufacturing of voting machines in the U.S., creating jobs and strengthening the domestic industry while simultaneously enhancing election security.

One of the primary benefits of requiring voting machines to be made in America is that it enhances election security. By mandating that all components are sourced and manufactured in the U.S., the legislation would have ensured that voting machines are built to the highest security standards, making them less susceptible to hacking, interference, and tampering. And if history is any guide and issues arise with machines on Election Day, it is much easier to find out what happened if the voting machine manufacturing plant is located in Buckeye and not Beijing. It also would have guaranteed transparency in the manufacturing process and ensured that any potential vulnerabilities could be addressed before the machines were used for elections.

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Moreover, American-made voting machines would have given voters greater confidence in the electoral process, particularly at a time when concerns about election integrity are rising. All one needs to do is look at the track record in Arizona, under then Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, to see what happens when elections are not administered effectively and there is lack of transparency. Arizona was ground zero for issues of election integrity in 2022, to the point that there is legal case after legal case still pending in the courts, and the real possibility that the state may have certified the wrong person as the winner in the race for State Attorney General. 

It’s ironic that in her veto message, now Governor Hobbs said the legislation could create a situation where election administrators are no longer able to procure certifiable voting and tabulating equipment. This is same tabulating equipment that failed to catch a very significant vote discrepancy in Pinal County that resulted in a post-recount 230 vote net swing to one candidate in an Attorney General race separated by a mere 280 votes out of more than 2.5 million ballots cast statewide.

That’s exactly what has caused these lawsuits, and why it is entirely possible in the machine tabulation some votes may not have been counted.  

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Governor Hobbs also cites that this legislation could be catastrophic for successful elections in Arizona. Watching people standing in lines, watching election supervisors at the polls telling people the tabulating machines were not working, seeing evidence being presented that votes may not have been counted, all of which happened under her watch in the 2022 elections, makes you wonder what Katie Hobbs considers “successful elections.” Is it a smooth and transparent election process that people have confidence in, or is it the outcome she desired?

Against this crisis of confidence in the execution of the election system, taking a pro-active step to ensure that our voting machines are Made in America, would have been a great step to restore people’s confidence and trust in Arizona’s election system. By increasing transparency and accountability, these machines would help to alleviate doubts and promote trust in the democratic process.

Finally, the legislation would have allowed for a transition period before full implementation, ensuring a smooth transition and minimizing any potential disruptions to the electoral process. This provision would have ensured sufficient time for voting machine manufacturers to meet the new requirements, which would have minimized the impact on existing voting systems.

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Requiring voting machines used in Arizona to be made in America is a sensible move that benefits everyone. By enhancing election security, increasing transparency, promoting domestic manufacturing, and supporting the American economy, this legislation would have represented a significant step toward ensuring the integrity of the democratic process. As President Biden emphasized in his State of the Union address, everything made in America benefits the country. Clearly, Governor Hobbs’ veto signals she does not support American workers, American manufacturing, or election integrity. The real question Arizonans have to ask is, “Why?”

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