Shawnna Bolick was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives from 2019–23, where she served on the Elections and Federal Relations committees and as vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee. Before being elected in 2018, she worked for multiple right-wing politicians and think tanks, including Rick Perry, the former lieutenant governor and governor of Texas; Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator from Pennsylvania; the Heritage Foundation; and Arizona’s State Policy Network affiliate, the Goldwater Institute. She also worked for the Arizona Charter School Association.
Bolick was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2022. At the 2020 ALEC annual meeting, she participated in workshops such as one called “Against Critical Theory’s Onslaught: Reclaiming Education and the American Dream” and attended a meeting of the Process Working Group, a secretive committee she chaired to focus on elections and redistricting. In 2020, Bolick was a member of the election integrity “task force” of the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), a right-wing Indianapolis-based law firm that fights to purge voter rolls and spreads misinformation around voter fraud.
Following the 2020 election, Bolick joined pro-Trump Republicans in attempting to overturn the results. In 2021, she launched a campaign for Arizona secretary of state, but lost to Mark Finchem in the GOP primary in August 2022. (He, in turn, lost to the Democratic candidate in the November general election.)
January 6, 2021
- On Jan. 6, 2021, Bolick and other Arizona state Republicans submitted a letter to Congress asking representatives to recognize 11 fake electors casting votes for Trump or “to have all electoral votes nullified completely until a full forensic audit can be conducted.”
The Big Lie
- Bolick signed a Jan. 5, 2021 letter to then-Vice President Mike Pence asking him to prevent congressional certification of the election results the following day. “There are extensive and well-founded accusations of electoral administration mismanagement and deliberate and admitted violations of explicit election laws enacted by state legislatures in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin,” the letter read. “Therefore, we write to ask you to comply with our reasonable request to afford our nation more time to properly review the 2020 election by postponing the January 6th opening and counting of the electoral votes for at least 10 days, affording our respective bodies to meet, investigate, and as a body vote on certification or decertification of the election.”
- Bolick frequently posts about voter fraud and “election integrity” on social media, implying that U.S. and Arizona elections are rife with abuse.
- For example, in a March 28, 2021 tweet, she wrote, “America: wake up & help save the Republic before it is too late. I read HR1 in January 2019. I could not sleep at night knowing the Congressional Democrats were pushing bills to nationalize our elections.”
- On March 25, 2021, she wrote that “it truly is the Democrat’s wish list 2 destroy America & our Republic. I could not sleep at night knowing the Democrats wanted 2 nationalize our election system.”
- Bolick supported the “audit” of the Arizona election—conducted by the pro-Trump, Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas.
- On April 29, 2021, Bolick signed a letter of support addressed to Karen Fann, the Republican state senator who spearheaded the audit there. In the letter, Arizona Republicans urged Fann to support legislation restricting voting, such as Senate Bill 1485, which passed in May 2021 and could remove 100,000 voters from the rolls before 2024.
- After the “audit” of the Arizona election, which found no evidence of fraud in the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Bolick claimed it had revealed “gaps and loopholes in Arizona’s election laws. These gaps must be filled and Arizona’s election laws must be brought to an unimpeachable standard of integrity.”
Post-2020 election subversion
- Bolick led the secretive Political Process Working Group, an internal project of the corporate, right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that focuses on elections and redistricting. At its 2019 annual meeting, Slate reports that ALEC hosted a special Political Process Working Group meeting in which right-wing lawyer Cleta Mitchell told her audience, “We’re going to teach you how to gerrymander.”
- In January 2021, Bolick introduced a bill in the Arizona House of Representatives that would have amended the state’s election laws to allow the legislature to scrap election results by a majority vote, among other measures. The bill did not pass.
- Bolick entered the 2022 race for Arizona secretary of state, a position that oversees the certification of voting machines and election results.