Election Integrity Unit

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As Americans and Arizonans, we must all work to preserve the integrity of our elections. The Attorney General’s Office is dedicated to vigorously defending our state’s common sense election laws and prosecuting anyone who is found to have committed voter fraud.

During the 2019 legislative session, the Arizona Legislature appropriated funds to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office for purposes of establishing an Elections Integrity Unit (EIU). Currently there are four members on EIU:

  • Senior Criminal Prosecutor
  • Senior Civil Attorney
  • Special Agent
  • Administrative Employee

File an elections related complaint.

Below, you will find a summary of previous and current prosecutions and cases where the Attorney General’s Office has defended the integrity of our elections.

 

Criminal

Voter Fraud

The majority of voter fraud cases prosecuted in Arizona are related to double voting (typically charged as illegal voting and false voter registration). Under Arizona law, illegal voting is a class 5 or class 6 felony. A person found guilty faces up to 2 or 2.5 years in prison, fines, restitution, loss of voting rights, and/or probation.

There are currently 21 active criminal investigations being handled by the EIU.

(Due to the sensitive nature of criminal investigations and ethical rules for prosecutors, the amount of information that can be provided on active criminal cases is limited to the number of cases.)

A full list of AGO criminal prosecutions related to voter fraud since 2010 can be found below.

Civil

Brnovich v. DNC

  • The AGO is defending Arizona’s commonsense election law that prohibits ballot harvesting and out-of-precinct voting at the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
  • General Brnovich intervened on behalf of the State after the Secretary of State declined to defend the statute.
  • 14 amicus briefs were filed in June 2020 in support of Arizona at SCOTUS. 
  • A decision is expected this fall as to whether SCOTUS will accept the case.

Arizonans for Fair Elections v. Hobbs

  • Plaintiffs sued in federal court, attempting to force the State to accept signatures on initiative petitions through the online system E-Qual, even though the Arizona Constitution requires signatures to be signed in the presence of a circulator.
  • General Brnovich intervened on behalf of the State after the Secretary of State declined to defend the constitution. 
  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by Plaintiffs for an injunction pending appeal.
  • The plaintiffs then voluntarily withdrew their lawsuit, conclusively ending the litigation.

Second Chances v. Hobbs

  • A different group of Plaintiffs filed suit in the Arizona Supreme Court and similarly attempted to use E-Qual for ballot measures.
  • General Brnovich intervened after the Secretary of State declined to defend the statute.
  • In a 6-1 decision, the Arizona Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction of the case and rejected Plaintiffs’ claims on the merits. This decision ends the lawsuit filed in state court.

Miracle v. Hobbs

  • The AGO successfully defended the Arizona’s "Strikeout Law" that requires paid and out-of-state circulators to make court appearances when signatures are challenged and the circulators are subpoenaed.
  • General Brnovich intervened on behalf of the State after the Secretary of State declined to defend the statute.
  • On May 1st, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s denial of the request to defend the law, and plaintiffs withdrew their lawsuit shortly after.

State v. Fontes

AGO Opinion RE: Candidate Petition Filings

  • Senator Fann submitted an opinion request asking:

    Can the Secretary of State require all candidate petitions be filed only by mail or must she provide the ability for a candidate to file their petitions in person by 5:00 p.m. on the deadline date?

    The AGO determined no, the Secretary of State cannot prohibit in-person filing and require that candidate petitions be mailed. State offices must be kept open for the transaction of public business. Accepting candidate filings and providing receipts for those filings are statutorily required business transactions performed by the Secretary of State’s Office. Prohibiting in-person filings closes the office to statutorily required business transactions.

Elections Procedures Manual

  • Arizona law requires the Attorney General’s Office and the Governor’s Office to independently review the Elections Procedures Manual during every odd-numbered year.
  • EIU reviewed the 2019 manual and identified 115 potential edits. An estimated 100 edits were incorporated in full or in part in the final manual.

News Releases

Additional Resources