Scoop: Jeff Flake seeds new voting nonprofit

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Former Sen. Jeff Fleck, a Republican who is now President Biden’s candidate to be ambassador to Turkey, is funding a nonprofit focused on election processes in his home state of Arizona, Nerdshala has learned.

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why it matters: Arizona is ground-zero for election conspiracy theories. While the people behind the Public Integrity Foundation say this is not the motivation for the group, they hope it will address some of the underlying issues.

What are you saying: Fleck’s Senate Campaign Committee – which is still active – Donated $150,000 to the Foundation According to Federal Election Commission records, in late September, a few days after its formation.

  • Foundation president Tyler Montague told Nerdshala that the group approached Fleck to support their efforts, and that their donation is their largest financial commitment to date.
  • “Jeff Fleck is a longtime friend, and he is also interested in one of the foundation’s charter objectives, which is to conduct research and education around alternative forms of voting,” Montague said in a text message.
  • Like Fleck, Montague is a Republican who has been Criticism of Donald Trump. He also runs the Public Integrity Alliance, a Mesa-based advocacy group.
  • Fleck did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his donation.
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description: Montague said the foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will study practices such as rank-choice voting and approval vote.

  • “We are not limiting ourselves to any one particular way,” he said.
  • The group is eyeing an Alaska-like model, which included a top-four primary and a ranked-choice general election in 2020.
  • “There are a lot of merits to rank-choice voting, even though NYC held its first election with it,” Montague said.

Between the lines: The foundation is launching in a state beset by controversies and conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 election.

  • While a Republican-led “audit” of the state election confirmed Biden’s victory last year, state and national GOP leaders continue to falsely claim that fraud skewed the outcome.
  • Montague said the controversy was not an incentive for the foundation, but that a better election process could be an antidote in the future.
  • “It is certainly a sign that there is a connection between the agenda of who we are electing and what the general public believes/wants,” he said. “Which is one of the major arguments made by people advocating for something like RCV over our current election methods.”
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