Bill would permit outside parties to pay for election recounts

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Anyone who thinks a recount of an election might change the outcome would have the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is under a new bill filed for the 2021 legislative session.

Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, is reviving a proposal he sponsored two years ago that would permit outside parties to pay for recounts. State law currently only permits recounts under extremely narrow circumstances if races are particularly close. For a statewide contest, recounts are only triggered if the margin of victory is 200 votes or one tenth of one percent of the total votes for both candidates.

Senate Bill 1010 would allow anyone to request a recount in a race, conducted either through the tabulation machines that election officials use to count ballots or a much more intensive hand count, regardless of the margin of victory. But whoever makes the request would have to foot the bill. The requester would have to post a bond for whatever amount a superior court judge deems sufficient to cover the costs.

“It can be frustrating, at the very least, if you believe an outcome should’ve been different — whether you’re right or wrong, or have reason to believe it or not — to not be able to go in and verify that, and even be able to go in and pay for the cost of it. There’s no mechanism for doing that now,” Mesnard said.

The proposal comes amid baseless allegations and conspiracy theories among supporters of President Donald Trump that Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election was the result of fraud, particularly Arizona and several other swing states that secured the former vice president’s victory.

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