Arizona secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem doesn’t trust elections. Now he wants to run them

Mark Finchem being interviewed by OAN./Gage Sizemore

By Mary Jo Pitzl | Arizona Republic

State Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, attends the Arizona Senate hearing in Phoenix on the progress of the Maricopa County election audit on July 15, 2021.

Mark Finchem tells the story of a late-night search for three men suspected of pulling off a string of robberies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, three decades ago.

An officer with the local police department at the time, Finchem stopped a suspicious vehicle but didn’t have the evidence needed to make an arrest. As turned back toward his car, he noticed the stopped car’s trunk was slightly ajar and got a bad feeling.

He later learned a man was in there with a sawed-off shotgun. 

“I knew when I got out of my car something was wrong,” Finchem said. “I didn’t know what.”

That’s how he views the 2020 presidential election, the event that has catapulted him to national notoriety and is propelling his bid as Arizona’s next secretary of state. Something was wrong, he felt.

“People see things they know are just wrong, but they don’t know what,” he said in an interview late last year.

He says he’s here to sort it out for them.

Arizona primary is Aug. 2: Everything you need to know to vote in the election

Finchem, 65, is finishing his fourth term as a Republican state representative from Oro Valley. He’s a prominent proponent of false claims that Donald Trump was cheated out of the presidency. While court hearings, audits, congressional scrutiny and even a homegrown ballot review by the state Senate have failed to produce evidence of such fraud, Finchem maintains he has the proof. Thus far, he hasn’t convinced political leaders or the courts.

So he’s taken his argument to the campaign trail, where he touts his Trump endorsement as he advocates for a radical shift in how elections are conducted, from abolition of the popular early voting system to posting ballot images online to a switch to ballot paper embedded with numerous “counter fraud” features.

He believes ballots should get hand-counted and has argued the state Legislature has the power to set aside presidential election results if lawmakers believe there is illegality in how those results were obtained.

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