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ASU poll reveals how Arizonans really feel about election reform

After disproven concerns of voter fraud in 2022, ASU's new study shows more people are supporting election security and transparency


ASU Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy surveyed students on their thoughts on election reform. 

ASU's Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy completed a new study that showed common ground among voters across the aisle supporting more election reform after the 2022 election, despite overall trust in the outcome. 

The overall goal of the study was to answer questions about voter confidence in the election system and their level of support for election reform.

Thom Reilly, a professor at the Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions and co-director of the center, said there was a general consensus between Democrat, Republican and Independent voters in favor of a multitude of election reform methods. These methods include public testing of voting machines, stricter requirements for voter identification, tracking of ballots and auditing of election results.

"Regardless of political affiliation, ethnicity, gender and some of those other factors, there's widespread support for audits, for testing machines, for tracking votes and for voter ID," Reilly said. "Now, the question is: Did respondents know that we already did these? Or do they want more of it? That's kind of an unanswered question. We need further research to look at it."

In 2019, Arizona started implementing new tabulators, which are machines that tally votes and are tested before and after every election. However, it is unclear whether the general public is aware of this security measure.

"There should be better education, that we're already doing ... and then a focus on asking citizens more about what they want," Reilly said.

Dan Hunting, an author of the study and the associate director of Enrollment Analysis at ASU, said that the current polarized political landscape was not necessarily reflected in the results of the poll, which was ultimately unexpected by researchers.

"We've obviously had some some challenges recently, and so we want to sort of probe those dynamics and figure out how people are feeling about the current state of our elections," Hunting said.

Hunting said a surprising aspect of the poll's results was the overwhelming support for nonpartisanship during the election process. 

"One thing that also had really strong support, that probably should be emphasized really across the board, was nonpartisan election administration (support)," Hunting said.

Arizona elections are administrated by the Secretary of State, which was current Gov. Katie Hobbs at the time of her candidacy for governor. Following the election of Hobbs, former Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office conducted an investigation of the state 2022 election that showed no evidence of widespread fraud.

"A lot of Republicans said wait a minute, we've got a Democrat who is running the elections, running for governor. There's a chance she could get in there and screw the results and mess up the system," Hunting said.

Rhett Price, a graduate student studying global management and an officer of the Government and Public Policy club at ASU, said with growing suspicions about election integrity, people want more answers. 

"I feel like across both sides, there is increasing suspicion, like my suspicion ... there's a movement for more transparency and ... therefore democracy," said Price.

According to Price, although elections are moving towards being nonpartisan and more studies show people supporting election transparency, there will always be an element of partisanship. 

"I mean, it might not be partisan in name but it's gonna be partisan something. I think it's just like with anything, it's just human nature," Price said.

Edited by Alysa Horton, Sadie Buggle and Grace Copperthite.

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