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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, left, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sign election documents to certify the election results Nov. 30, 2020. (AP) Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, left, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sign election documents to certify the election results Nov. 30, 2020. (AP)

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, left, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sign election documents to certify the election results Nov. 30, 2020. (AP)

Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman February 11, 2022

GOP lawmaker’s proposal to decertify Arizona election won’t change anything about 2020

If Your Time is short

  • Arizona State Rep. Mark Finchem, who is running for secretary of state with Donald Trump’s backing, proposed a resolution that would decertify the 2020 election results from three counties.

  • Legal experts said it isn’t possible to decertify the election. The U.S. Constitution lays out a process for the electors and certification of the presidential election, and that process was completed more than a year ago.

  • There is no evidence of widespread fraud in Arizona’s 2020 election.

Former President Donald Trump and his allies have cheered a resolution by a Republican Arizona state lawmaker to decertify the 2020 election won by Joe Biden — a proposal that has no legal merit and isn’t going anywhere.

"Arizona House bill would decertify three counties in Arizona," said a Feb. 8 Facebook post by David J. Harris, a conservative commentator. The post links to an article on his website that says that if the resolution passes, "it could effectively recall the Biden electors." 

He’s wrong. The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The resolution he’s talking about was authored by State Rep. Mark Finchem. Trump, who has endorsed Finchem as a candidate for Arizona secretary of state, declared the resolution "big news in Arizona!"

But it’s just wishful thinking by people who see political gain in rehashing the falsehood that Biden’s victory was the result of voter fraud.

People should ignore claims from anyone about the prospect of undoing the 2020 results, says Chris Krebs, the former federal cybersecurity official who declared the 2020 presidential election "the most secure in American history" before being fired by Trump.

"There is no mechanism for such a thing under the law," Krebs tweeted in September. "Here’s the thing: you’re the mark. They want your money, they want your rage, they want you turning out, protesting, & threatening officials. You’re a pawn. Nothing more."

Recycled false claims and allegations

Finchem’s resolution recycles claims about voter fraud that have been debunked by fact-checkers and elections officials. And it revives allegations of fraud and probable cause of criminal wrongdoing that investigations have dismissed.

The resolution calls for setting aside the results in Pima, Maricopa and Yuma counties because Finchem said he believes the election there was "irredeemably flawed," which prevented "the declaration of a clear winner." Biden won Pima and Maricopa while Trump won Yuma.

Finchem acknowledged in a press release about his resolution that there is no process under current law to decertify the election. But he said that doesn’t mean the Legislature can’t "provide a remedy for outcome-determinative fraud and illegality in the conduct of the election."

Featured Fact-check

No power to decertify

Rick Hasen, an election law professor at University of California, Irvine, called Finchem’s argument "nonsense."

"This argument is not legally sound," Hasen said. "The Arizona legislature had the right under Article 2 of the Constitution to set the manner for choosing presidential electors. It gave that right to Arizona’s voters, with no power to ‘decertify’ the results afterwards — whatever that means."

After counties canvassed the results weeks after Election Day, Arizona state officials certified the results on Nov. 30, 2020, showing that Joe Biden won Arizona by about 10,500 votes. The electors cast their ballots for Biden on Dec. 14, 2020, and Congress accepted the results Jan. 6, 2021.

The Legislature can’t disregard the results of the votes cast by electors, said Paul Bender, an Arizona State University law professor. "I would not take Finchem's assertions seriously," he said.

Arizona state House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, called the bill "obviously unconstitutional and profoundly unwise" – a sign that it won’t go anywhere.

Our ruling

An article shared on Facebook says an Arizona House resolution proposing to "decertify" the 2020 results in three counties "could effectively recall the Biden electors."

The post refers to a resolution by Finchem, a state legislator who has called for decertifying the results of the 2020 presidential election in Pima, Maricopa and Yuma counties. 

The resolution won’t change anything about the 2020 election. Arizona certified the results in November 2020, the electors cast their ballots in December and those results were accepted by Congress in January 2021. 

The Constitution lays out the process for certifying the election, and that process is over.

We rate this statement Pants on Fire.

RELATED: What you need to know about the fake Trump electors

RELATED: The distorted claim that 86,391 voters in Maricopa ‘don’t appear to exist’

Our Sources

David J Harris Jr., Facebook post, Feb. 8, 2022

DJHJ Media, Arizona State Rep. Mark Finchem Introduces Resolution To SET ASIDE & DECERTIFY Three 2020 County Elections, Feb. 8, 2022

Save America PAC, Statement, Feb. 7, 2022

Arizona Republic, House speaker: Finchem's bill to set aside 2020 presidential results 'profoundly unwise' Feb. 7, 2022

Arizona Republic, Arizona secretary of state certifies election results with Biden winning state's 11 electoral votes, Nov. 30, 2020

Arizona State Rep. Mark Finchem, Press release, Feb. 7, 2022

U.S. Rep Liz Cheney, WSJ: (Cheney) "The Jan. 6 Committee Won’t Be Intimidated" Feb. 10, 2022

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, ​​2020 General Election County Canvass Returns, November 2020

Chris Krebs, former director of CISA and Partner, Krebs Stamos Group, Tweet, Sept. 24, 2021

Dispatch, Arizona Bill Peddles Debunked Election Fraud Claims, Feb. 8, 2022

AP, Fact-check: Pro-Trump auditors spin election falsehoods, Sept. 24, 2021

Washington Post The Fact Checker, Rebutting Trump’s claims about fraud in Arizona, point by point, Sept. 24, 2021

Maricopa County, Correcting the record, January 2022

Email interview, David J Harris, Feb. 10, 2022

Email interview, Rebecca Green, William & Mary law professor, Feb. 10, 2022

Email interview, Rick Hasen, University of California, Irvine, law professor, Feb. 10, 2022

Email interview, Paul Bender, Arizona State University law professor, Feb. 10, 2022

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GOP lawmaker’s proposal to decertify Arizona election won’t change anything about 2020

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