Action Alert: Kill This Bill – HB 2305 Voter Suppression

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Kill-bill-vol-1Yesterday the Arizona legislature took up the so-called election "reform" bills designed to restrict your constitutional rights as an Arizona citizen to citizen initiatives and referendums and to make it more difficult to submit petitions, and to make it more difficult for some people to vote (aka voter suppression). The conference committee approved it in five minutes without any public testimony.

Once again, these so-called election "reform" bills have now been grouped together under HB 2305 pertaining to "Initiatives; filings; circulators," House Engrossed Version and Senate Engrossed Version (the conference committee bill is not yet available).

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona lawmakers forward bill on election changes:

Lawmakers broke a stalemate over wide-ranging changes to Arizona
election procedures Thursday, bundling several hotly disputed proposals
into one bill
and triggering warnings of potential lawsuits over voter
suppression.

The changes, if approved by the House and Senate, would tighten
procedures for citizen initiatives and referenda, limit who can return a
voter’s ballot to the polls, and drop people from the permanent
early-voting list if they fail to vote by mail in consecutive elections
.

“The one commonality in the bill is inhibiting people’s ability to
exercise the right to vote,” said state Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix.

Gallardo attended the brief conference committee on House Bill 2305,
which ran less than five minutes, did not provide any explanation of the
proposed changes to the public in attendance, and passed without any
comment from the four Republicans and two Democrats on the committee.

Among the provisions:

Recall campaigns must show “strict compliance” with the state
Constitution and state laws
. To date, the courts, have given citizen
efforts some leeway in navigating state rules.

Another provision would require initiative backers to file their
petition sheets in a precise order or risk having the state attorney
general order them to refile
. But it would not give them extra time,
something that could be a problem since many initiative campaigns wait
until the last minute to file their petitions.

* * *

Voters who are on the permanent early voting list and who fail to vote
using their mail-in ballot would be notified that they are being dropped
from the list unless they indicate otherwise
. It would apply to any
voter who did not mail in their ballot in the primary and general
elections in 2012, as well as in the primary and general elections of
2014.

* * *

A person can give their completed ballot to another person to drop
off at the polls as long as that person “is acting without direction
from a political committee, group or organization.”
The voter and the
person returning their ballot must fill out an affidavit attesting the
voter needed help getting the ballot returned to the polls. [Violation of the provision carries a Class 1 misdemeanor.]

The provision is a reaction to numerous Latino groups which last fall
returned batches of ballots to the Maricopa County elections office.
Officials feared ballot tampering, and cited incidents in which two
individuals attempted to collect ballots while misrepresenting whom they
represented. However, there was never any evidence of ballot tampering,
and no charges were filed.

* * *

Loosens signature requirements for legislative and congressional
candidates to get on the ballot
. It leaves untouched requirements for
statewide offices such as governor and attorney general, as well as
county offices.

“Once again, we make it easier for ourselves and make it difficult (for others).” Gallardo said.

This is a voter suppression bill that will restrict your constitutional rights as an Arizona citizen to citizen
initiatives and referendums and to make it more difficult to submit
petitions, and to make it more difficult for some people to vote. This conference committee bill will need to be voted on by both chambers of the legislature to advance.

Call your state legislators now to oppose this voter suppression bill, and keep calling them until this voter suppression bill has been defeated.

You should also oppose HB 2518, which includes Rep. Justin Olson's provision for "approval voting" in city or town primary or first elections (The voter in the primary or first election shall be permitted to vote
for as many candidates for a single office as the voter chooses to
approve – The two candidates who receive the highest and second highest number of
votes in the primary or first election shall advance to the general or
runoff election for that city or town without regard to whether any one
candidate has received a majority of the votes cast for that office.) This flies in the face of the constitutional standard of "one person, one vote" and allows for the organized manipulation of the vote.

0 responses to “Action Alert: Kill This Bill – HB 2305 Voter Suppression

  1. “We know that proxies are offering votes in dem primaries to the highest bidder.”

    If there were any evidence to support this, there would have been prosecutions. There have not been.

  2. maureen_schmid@yahoo.com

    I have emailed both Tammy Patrick, Maricopa County federal compliance officer, and Michele Reagan, the sponsor of the original SB1261, about the four-election requirement for remaining on PEVL. Both have responded in emails to me that the voter need only vote ONCE in the four elections (primary, general for two election cycles) to remain on PEVL with no action on his/her part. This is not what was printed in the AZ Republic, however. Also, I have been unable to find the wording of the provision in the HB2305.

  3. Clay Shentrup

    Note: you made this claim before about how Approval Voting violated “one person, one vote”. I cited a page refuting that, from a non-partisan 501(c)3 non-profit, comprised of people who have spent many years studying this issue, and have law degrees and math PhD’s. And here you’ve repeated the same false claim again. How do you explain that?

  4. A) HB 2518 was amended to only create a study committee. To study Approval Voting. That is all.

    B) The phrase “one person, one vote” has nothing to do with how many people you may vote for in an election. Indeed, Single Transferable Vote (a system where you rank the candidates) has been used in Cambridge, MA for decades. And multi-winner “at large” elections, in which you can vote for as many candidates as there are seats to be filled (or fewer, if you choose) are commonplace, e.g. for city councils. From the Approval Voting page at The Center for Election Science:

    Does Approval Voting violate one person, one vote?

    No. The term “one person one vote” refers to the weight of votes, not to how votes are expressed.

    The U.S. Supreme Court made the “one person one vote” rule explicit in Reynolds v. Sims (377 U.S. 533). The rule stated that no vote should count more than any other so that it has unequal weight. This unequal weight would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. And it was Baker v. Carr (369 U.S. 186) that extended the Equal Protection Clause to districting issues. In Reynolds, the state of Alabama set up its districts so that they varied wildly in population. The districting was so bad that it gave some voters’ ballots as much as 41 times more weight than others. Because the weights of the ballots were different between districts, that violated the “one person one vote” rule.

    A common misconception is that Approval Voting gives more weight to voters who vote for more candidates. To see why this isn’t the case, imagine a tied election between a liberal and two conservatives. Bob casts a vote for the liberal, while Alice casts an opposing vote for the two conservatives. After Bob and Alice have voted, the election is still tied. Bob and Alice have an opposite but equal effect on the election. Another way to think of it is that if you vote for all candidates, that has the same effect as not voting at all. The key here is that no voter has an unfair advantage. Effectively, every voter casts an “aye” or “nay” vote for every candidate.

    Finally, consider that voters are already allowed to vote for multiple candidates in “at large” races. For instance, a city council may simultaneously elect three representatives. Some voters may vote for three candidates, while others may vote for only one or two candidates.

  5. The suspicion is that they went off to a warehouse and just filled in the ballots. This could be checked easily enough. The money to do this would have happened at the congressional level. So, you would do an analysis of the contested elections, Sinema, Barber and Kirkpatrick. Did they show unusual patterns? Since this action was most intense in low income neighborhoods, you would just ask the voters if they were paid for their ballots and did they hand an open ballot over to the collector? If so, who was the collector? Just follow it up the chain.

    We know that proxies are offering votes in dem primaries to the highest bidder.