Mark Finchem, a four-term Arizona state representative and a Republican, said that he is running for secretary of state because he couldn’t swallow the 2020 election and do nothing.
“Elections belong to the people, not the government,” Finchem told The Epoch Times. “When people give their consent to be governed, they do not surrender their right to hold the government accountable for counting the vote.”
“Yet, it seemed like there was this growing number of political types that wanted the people to sit down and shut up. Well, I’m just not that kind of guy.”
A vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and an advocate for election integrity, Finchem was endorsed by Trump in Sept. 2021. Trump said, “Mark was willing to say what few others had the courage to say.”
During the Trump “Save America” rally in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, Finchem told the audience, “Ladies and gentleman, we know it and they know it: Donald Trump won.”
Legacy media have called Finchem an “election conspiracy promoter” or “QAnon-backer.”
Finchem told The Epoch Times that he was appalled during the November 2020 Senate hearing seeing all the claims of election irregularities. Later, some claims led to the Maricopa County forensic audit, which gained national focus.
“I was asked, ‘Can you think of anybody who could run for secretary of state that you would approve of in the political realm?’” Finchem said.
“No,” Finchem said. He couldn’t think of anyone, firstly interested in the job, and secondly, really wanting to “roll up their sleeves and do the hard work” of securing elections.
“It’s imperative that we make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Finchem said.
“If I’m elected for secretary of state, I think the big issue is voter roll cleanup. That’s the biggie.”
According to the Maricopa County forensic audit final report, 23,344 mail-in ballots were received from voters’ previous addresses. Jack Sellers, chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, responded at the time that the opinions “come from a misuse and misunderstanding of the data provided by the county and are twisted to fit the narrative that something went wrong.”
Finchem said everybody has a right to vote and have their vote counted as long as they’re qualified electors, and “that means you have to be a U.S. citizen, you have to be registered to vote, we have to have your name in the voter registration rolls.”
That’s why it’s so important for the secretary of state to periodically remove from voter rolls people who have moved, people who have died, people who are ineligible voters, and people who have registered with vacant lots, government buildings, or industrial warehouses, said Finchem.
“The next is to make sure that the statutes that concern elections are faithfully observed by all those that are bound by them,” Finchem said. “One of the things that we’re pushing for right now is to expand the Attorney General’s Office election integrity unit and to establish the ability of the auditor general to engage in systems audits.”
Finchem claimed that Katie Hobby, the current secretary of state, didn’t faithfully execute the elections procedure manual, and instead, she expanded voter registration.
Hobby’s office hasn’t responded to a request from The Epoch Times for comment.
Finchem said the simple way to secure an election is “paper ballots, hand counting.”
He announced on his campaign website the Arizona Ballot Integrity Project, which would upgrade the paper ballots with currency-grade fraud countermeasures, such as watermark, microprint, and hologram. It can make an audit obsolete, and the cost is only 25 cents a ballot.
On Jan. 24, a Republican majority of the Arizona Senate Committee on Government passed a slew of election integrity measures, including one bill implementing currency-grade ballot safety measures. The bill’s key sponsor, GOP state Sen. Sonny Borrelli, credited Finchem with doing the legwork to identify a vendor to produce certified ballots.
The adopted bills are expected to go to a Senate vote in the next few weeks.
“We cannot allow the use of electronic tabulation. Because what that means is our system is open and vulnerable to somebody who might want to alter it,” Finchem said.
He pointed out that during a hackers convention, DEF CON 2019, in Las Vegas, it was proved that every single electronic tabulation machine had a vulnerability where they could be hacked.
Finchem urges Republicans to run in school board elections, run for municipal offices, run for the legislature, or support somebody running for those offices.
“Be politically active,” Finchem said. “Because the folks who would like to take over your country, they’re politically active.”
Both Republicans and Democrats have shown unprecedented interest in elections of chief election officers nationwide, especially in the swing states. Democrats and the left have called the GOP’s efforts an “anti-democratic movement.”
“We’re not a democracy. We’re a republic,” Finchem said. “Anybody that uses the word ‘democracy’ demonstrates their ignorance. … They apparently are the victims of a public education system that told them the wrong thing.”
“I find it interesting that they’re [Democrats are] upset that Republicans are putting up great candidates,” Finchem said. “We are working within the political process to promote those candidates, when ten years ago, George Soros, Tom Steyer, and their buddies did the exact same thing.”
“So it was okay then, but it’s not okay now? It was acceptable then, but it’s not acceptable now? It’s called the election process. And if they don’t like it, maybe they need to move to Venezuela, where they can control every aspect of people’s lives.”
Allan Stein contributed to this report.