Governor signs draft law to clean up early voting lists | Latest news

PHOENIX – Governor Doug Ducey signed controversial bill this week to automatically remove less active voters from the state’s mail-in electoral roll.

SB 1485 is approved on a straight line and is removed from the early voting list if someone does not vote at least once during an election, general or local election during two election cycles.

Another bill also banned any donations from outside groups to conduct elections, a blow to the Gates Foundation, which donated millions to help state electoral departments conduct elections during the pandemic.

All sixth district officials supported both efforts, including House members Walter Blackman and Brenda Barton, and Senator Wendy Rogers. District 4 includes Flagstaff, the Verde Valley, Rim Country, the White Mountains, and the Navajo and Apache Reserves.

It is estimated that between 125,000 and 200,000 voters would have been removed from the early voting list if the bill had come into force in November. These voters could still have appeared at the polls to vote in person.

Both Republicans and Democrats wasted no time sending calls for funds. Republicans appealed for donations to protect electoral integrity. Democrats called for money to stop voter suppression.

Studies suggest that rules that facilitate mail-in voting modestly increase voter turnout, but do not necessarily favor one party over the other. In Arizona, Republicans were more likely to use postal ballot paper, although more Democrats than Republicans relied on postal ballot paper in 2020. The pattern differs from state to state. Arizona had historically relied much more heavily on mail-in voting than most states. No studies have shown that mail-in systems increase the likelihood of election fraud. Mail-in ballots are more likely to be rejected than ballots cast in elections due to difficulties in verifying signatures and voter registration.

Governor Doug Ducey said, “This calculation is simple. It’s all about electoral integrity. “

However, Rebecca Rios (D-Phoenix), Chairwoman of the Senate Minority, said, “We know this will be especially important to nationals and tribesmen. And yet, we continue to pass bills under the guise of fraud prevention even though there is little or no evidence of actual fraud. “

Navajo President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer firmly opposed the bill. “The voting rights of the Navajo people changed the outcome of the 2020 election,” he said, as strong Democratic majorities on the Navajo reservation played a key role in President Joe Biden’s 11,000-vote lead over President Donald Trump in Arizona.

Nez said SB 1485 “is an oppression of voters, deprivation of rights for voters and an unprecedented attack on our right to vote. We must stand together and roll back these voting actions, which are clearly aimed at favoring certain groups. “

Conservative groups – like the Heritage Acton for America – ran ads defending the bill. This is to save the state the cost of sending ballot papers to voters who do not vote.

Governor Ducey warned companies not to criticize the bill. A wider range of election restrictions in Georgia resulted in national and local boycotts by companies criticizing the restrictions. Republicans in the state parliament there reciprocated by canceling tax breaks in the millions for some companies.

“Elsewhere in America, big corporations have chosen to join the debate about the right to vote. My advice to them about this law is simple: know what you are talking about before you say anything, “Ducey said in a video statement released after the bill was signed.

The Brennan Center issued a critical statement on the new law that will make it more difficult to vote in the mail.

“For years, the permanent early voting list has provided more opportunities to vote for Arizonans. The burden on voters to actively request a ballot will inevitably diminish these opportunities. This law unnecessarily restricts the choices that Arizona voters rely on. “

The center has pursued laws to restrict voting across the country.

The state Republican Party launched a new fundraising appeal to raise funds to combat federal efforts to lift voting restrictions, including creating a national, automatic early voting list.

On the other hand, the Democrats issued their own appeals for funds to combat voter suppression.

“More than 80% of Arizona voters use our popular and secure email voting system to make their voices heard,” said Rios and Arizona State Party Chairman Raquel Teran in a joint statement. “The creation of electoral barriers is nothing more than retaliation by Republicans for losing the 2020 elections to the top of the list. After Governor Ducey admitted that our elections were safe, he couldn’t wait to sign this bill to appease far-right radicals who believe conspiracy theories over facts. Rather than listening to our state’s independent voters, AZGOP is cutting out voters who question their marginal agenda. “

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, who represents the White Mountains, the Navajo Reservation, southern Gila County, and most of Pinal County in Congress, sent a fundraising appeal that read, “The Republicans in Arizona are cracking down on a new law of voters proposing to clean it up a hundred thousand names from the mail-in voting list. The Republicans of Arizona are doing everything they can to stop people from voting. We can’t let them get away with it. One of the proponents of the law has already promised to run against Tom in 2022. “

Rep. Walter Blackman has already expressed an interest in competing against O’Halleran, who occupies an endangered swing district. John Moore has also expressed an interest in running for the Republican nomination against O’Halleran.

On the other hand, Heritage Action welcomed the signing of the bill on behalf of American Executive Director Jessica Anbderson. “Today was a triumph for common sense and a victory for electoral integrity. The law will ensure that early voting papers are not sent to voters who have chosen not to vote, saving tax money and improving electoral integrity. “

The bill made it through the legislature after Republican Senator Kelly Townsend changed her previous vote. She wanted to wait for the Arizona Senate to finish its controversial efforts to consider the votes cast for President in Maricopa County in 2020. The Senate issued a subpoena to force the Republican-dominated Maricopa County regulator to hand over the ballots and voting machines to the Senate – which hired a private consulting firm called Cyber ​​Ninjas to count all votes. The effort has generated sharp criticism for a lack of security for the ballot papers, the involvement of partisan representatives, the exclusion of reporters from observing the census, private fundraisers to pay for the effort, and other things.

The people handling the ballot papers have used ultraviolet light to look for nonexistent watermarks, as well as tests to look for bamboo fiber in the newspaper, apparently taking into account a conspiracy theory that China had provided pre-marked ballots to order Ensuring Biden’s victory.

Townsend eventually changed her voice after the end of the exam was delayed by months. However, she promised that the Senate may consider other voting restrictions – like her bill requiring people with postal ballot papers to turn them in in the elections.

Peter Aleshire covers county government and other issues for the Independent. He is the former editor of the Payson Roundup. Reach out to him at [email protected]

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