Easy to vote…Hard to cheat
A comprehensive plan for the reform of the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office
We began our campaign back in 2014 with a comprehensive plan to reform the Secretary of State’s office by increasing transparency, securing our elections and streamlining operations by ushering them into the 21st Century. After the inauguration, my staff and I rolled up our sleeves and got to work implementing many of the provisions of the Reagan Plan. I have implemented many of the reforms I promised during the campaign, but there is still work to do.
1. Website Update and Upgrade ✓
2. Accepting Credit Cards ✓
3. Financial Disclosure Forms Filed Electronically ✓
4. Lobbyist Spending Reported in “Real-Time”
5. Improve Web Links between SOS and County Recorders ✓
6. Smart Phone Application for Easy Access Election Information ✓
7. Online System for Filing Ballot Arguments✓
8. Comprehensive Candidate Website Portal
9. Online Candidate Filing System ✓
10. Online CCEC Filing System ✓
11. Online Notary Filing ✓
12. Online Trademark Registration – Completed Consolidation of Reporting from all Election Jurisdictions
1. Independent Voter Participation ✓
2. Youth Voter Registration ✓
3. Multicultural Outreach and Access ✓
4. Increasing Primary Election Participation ✓
1. Precinct Voting Compliance Requirements ✓
2. Eliminate Ballot Harvesting ✓
3. Cleaning Up PEVL
The highest priority of a Reagan Administration will be to increase voter participation. Nearly all of the challenges in elections can be overcome by a more participatory electorate. Voting should be easy, elections should be efficient, and cheating and fraud should be eliminated. Voters will be far more inclined to participate if they are confident in their elections, secure in their vote, and assured that their vote will make a difference in our state and in our nation.
The following plan specifically outlines basic parameters, realistic goals and objectives, and will set in motion greater transparency, greater security, improved confidence, and increased participation in our elections.
Many of the current features of the Secretary of State website are antiquated and out of date. Within the first 100 days of a Reagan administration, the Secretary of State website will undergo a major upgrade and update.
1. Financial disclosure forms to be filed electronically, and allowing for searchable data.
2. Lobbyist spending to be reported in “real-time” – 48 to 72 hours after money is spent on behalf of a lawmaker.
3. Improve web links between the SOS website and all fifteen County Recorder websites.
4. Create a smart phone application that allows for reporting as well as researching candidate campaign committees, ballot committees, and independent expenditure and corporate electioneering.
Consolidation of Reporting From All Election Jurisdictions
Under our current system, lobbyists and interest groups must report to multiple jurisdictions – state, county, and local municipalities. For example, if a lobbyist represents some clients at the legislature or if a lobbyist makes donations to legislative candidates, reports are made to the SOS. If that same lobbyist represents the same or different clients at the City of Phoenix or other municipality, or if the lobbyist contributes to city council candidates, reports are submitted to the city clerk; the county jurisdictions are yet another level of reporting. My administration will propose a centralized, online portal within the SOS office for all campaign finance fillings – state, county and local.
First, this will allow for absolute transparency regarding who is contributing to whom, regardless of the political jurisdiction; secondly, it will remove an undue burden to local and county governments. Many of our state’s counties, cities, and town are underfunded and lack technological sophistication; in fact, many jurisdictions still allow handwritten, paper reports to be filed; third, it will reduce cost and streamline government function. Campaign finance oversight, enforcement, and the levying of fines should remain the responsibility of the individual political jurisdictions.
Independent Voter Participation
As Independents continue to grow as a voting segment, the Secretary of State should immediately begin working with all 15 County Recorders to allow for Independent voters to place themselves on a partisan Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) in the Primary Election cycle. By doing so, Independents could self-select to automatically receive a Republican or Democrat ballot in each and every Primary Election. Independents should easily be able to change from a Republican to Democrat ballot (or vice versa) electronically in advance of each election.
Presently, each County Recorder’s office sends a singular notification to Independent voters acknowledging their eligibility to participate in the Primary Election. The Secretary of State should play a larger role in this education process. Under a Reagan administration, greater resources will be deployed to educate Independent voters about this important right. Through the use of television, newsprint and radio earned media, and most importantly through social media platforms, the Secretary of State’s Office will embark on the greatest public awareness campaign in its history.
Youth Voter Registration
For a variety of reasons, young people in our state are not registering to vote or participating in elections to the same degree as older generations. In order to increase voter registration within this demographic, the Secretary of State’s Office under a Reagan administration will dedicate resources to acquire mobile voter registration kiosks that will move around the state from our universities, to our community colleges, and even to our high schools where voting age high school seniors will be provided the opportunity and encouragement to register to vote. A strong public awareness and earned media campaign will launch, in advance of the kiosk deployment, in each specific geographic area.
Minority Outreach and Access
Although the State of Arizona no longer falls under the federal government “preclearance” jurisdiction which formerly provided the US Department of Justice with the authority to oversee and “pre-clear” any changes – no matter how minor – that might affect voting or elections in states with a history of discrimination of minorities, it remains critically important for the Secretary of State to ensure that any new laws or rules pertaining to voting or elections do not have a disproportionate effect on minorities. That is why, under a Reagan administration, I will immediately create, within the office, the new position of “Voting Rights Ambassador” who will work with state and local jurisdictions to ensure that new laws, rules and regulations are fair, impartial and do not serve to disenfranchise minority voters while not ceding any authority back to the federal government.
Increasing Primary Election Participation
Presently, the State of Arizona conducts the Primary Election in late August, at the height of summer while many Arizona families are still vacationing. Additionally, the Primary Election is a mere six weeks before the General Election which poses many significant challenges to candidate’s campaigns, County Recorders, and the general voter. In order to vastly improve participation, I will propose and work with County Recorders and members of the state legislature to move the Primary Election from late August to the first Tuesday in June.
Shining a Light on Dark Money
Dark money has significantly altered our elections since the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision. It is incumbent upon elected officials to find ways to make campaign disclosures more transparent. I propose a simple, three-tiered approach to remedy this problem.
First, any non-profit corporation, labor union or other entity that intends to participate in electioneering must simply register with the Secretary of State acknowledging their intent.
Second, a Reagan administration will seek legislative authority to give the Secretary of State the ability to refer complaints to other jurisdictions rather than solely the Attorney General’s office.
Third, “Dark Money” is derived from non-profit corporations registered and regulated by the IRS. The IRS has the power to revoke a non-profit corporation’s tax-exempt status if it is found to have violated IRS rules and regulations governing electioneering. My administration will immediately seek legislative authority to penalize these non-profits that do business in Arizona, if and when, a tax-exempt status is revoked by the IRS. These penalties should include the immediate filing of a traditional “Independent Expenditure” committee with the Secretary of State that would then trigger the normal filing of campaign finance reports which would include the disclosure of all contributors and expenditures; additionally, this provision would make the IE committee subject to any penalties and fines for having failed to file prior reports in a timely fashion as already regulated by the Secretary of State.
None of these changes would grant the Secretary of State prosecutorial powers which would vastly alter the purpose and function of the office. Granting prosecutorial powers would open the door to political targeting of legitimate non-profit groups.
Ballot Harvesting – It is well established and documented that numerous special interest groups and political field operatives go door-to-door collecting thousands of ballots during the Primary and General elections. These individuals and groups pressure our most vulnerable voters to relinquish their ballot often under the guise of “helping”. Additionally, these individuals have been found to actually “help” the voter complete their ballot. Arizona must strengthen our statutes to eliminate this practice. No other state in the county allows this practice, and Arizona must immediately put an end to this type of fraud.
Cleaning up the Permanent Early Voting List – As a state senator, I worked with all fifteen County Recorders to modernize the PEVL and streamline Arizona elections. The PEVL is outdated and counties are sending live ballots to homes where people have moved or have passed away. It is documented that some County Recorders are sending dozens of ballots to the same post office box or physical address. This is an environment ripe for fraud. As Secretary of State, I will continue to work with County Recorders to develop a fair and impartial manner in which the list can become current and cleaner, making elections smoother, more efficient and eliminating potential opportunities for fraud.
Security at the State Capitol
Over the last decade or more, our world, county and state have become far less secure. From national security and terrorism threats, to shootings at government buildings and attacks on government officials, we can no longer take our security for granted. Security doesn’t begin and end with personal safety at the Capitol. One needs look no further than the recent electronic breeches that several national retailers have experienced. Today, security also includes protecting our intellectual capital, public records, archives, and most importantly our electronic data and voter files. That is why, if elected, I will convene a “Capitol Security Task Force” comprised of the Capitol Police under the direction of DPS, including representation from the State Library, Archives and Public Records Office, already a division of the Secretary of State’s Office, as well as specialists in the field of security and technology to develop a two-pronged approach to security at the Capitol.
The first prong will be the assessment of our vulnerabilities, both in infrastructure as well as technology and communications. The second prong will focus on a plan of action, budgetary considerations, and a responsible timeline. As the highest-ranking election official and keeper of the public trust, I believe that the Secretary of State has an inherent responsibility to maintain a safe and secure environment at our State’s Capitol.