GOP voter suppression returns with a vengeance

2305hb11In 2013, Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature passed an omnibus elections bill, HB 2305, that was a wish list of voter suppression measures.

Thousands of Arizonans rose up and exercised their constitutional right to a citizens referendum (“citizens veto”) of HB 2305, and qualified the referendum for the 2014 ballot.

Fearing the lasting effects of a defeat of HB 2305 at the ballot, Tea-Publicans repealed HB 2305 in 2014, rendering the citizens referendum moot before voters could vote on it — itself a form of voter suppression.

One of the cosponsors of HB 2305, Sen. Michele Reagan, running for Secretary of State, said during the campaign that she would not seek to revive the voter suppression measures of HB 2305. How do you know she was lying? Her lips were moving.

Tea-Publicans have reassembled the Frankenstein monster of HB 2305, only this time they were smart enough not to put it all into a single omnibus election bill, but rather into individual bills, making it much more difficult and costly for Arizonans to exercise their constitutional right to a citizens referendum, because what do you peons know anyway? How dare anyone challenge our masters in the all great and powerful Tea-Publican Arizona legislature.

On Wednesday the House gave preliminary approval in a COW vote to the strike everything amendment SB 1339 (.pdf). SB 1339 makes collection of early ballots by anyone other than the voter’s family or a candidate and his or her spouse a felony. The bill is on the Third Reading Calendar for today. If approved, it will have to go to the Senate for approval. This is going to happen quickly today as the legislature attempts to sine die by tonight.

Contact your state legislators now, and prepare to contact the governor. You can use The Republic’s E.J. Montini ‘Ballot harvesting’ fuss sprouts from political manure, and Laurie Roberts Elections bills aimed at reform or Republican rule? for points to make.

The Senate and House completed passage of HB 2407 (.pdf) on Wednesday, which changes the “substantial compliance” standard for citizen initiatives in place since statehood, and imposes a “strict compliance” standard previously reserved for citizen referendums. For example, if you misspell a word on a petition, or your margins are off a little (shrinkage due to using a copier), or a petition signature does not contain all the information that the law requires, those petitions can be struck. The Tea-Publican legislature is making it much more difficult and costly for Arizonans to exercise their constitutional right to a citizens initiative, because our Tea-Publican legislature really hates it when voters pass their own laws.

Contact the governor’s office today and tell him to veto HB 2407. If Gov. Ducey signs this into law, this is the one bill that voting rights organizations need to file for a citizens referendum (“citizens veto”) in order to prevent it from taking effect. Be prepared to circulate petitions on short notice, like we did for HB 2305.

The House and Senate also completed passage of HB 2608 (.pdf) on Wednesday, which increases the required number of signatures for a third party candidate to qualify for the ballot. If you are a member of the Libertarian Party, or the Green Party, or the Americans Elect Party, which have qualified for the ballot in past elections, contact the governor’s office today and tell him to veto HB 2608.

On Wednesday the House gave preliminary approval in a COW vote to SCR 1001 (.pdf), the deceptive ballot measure to transfer the Citizens Clean Elections Fund to education in order to defund Citizens Clean Elections. The evil GOP bastards will not send a “clean” up or down vote on Citizens Clean Elections to the ballot, because they know that the public, which enacted the law by citizens initiative, supports the law. SCR 1001 is on the Third Reading Calendar for today. If approved by the House, it goes to the 2016 ballot. The Citizens Clean Elections Commission has threatened to sue to prevent this measure from going to the ballot. We’ll see.

While Tea-Publicans are trying to eliminate Clean Elections candidates, they are also busy lining their own pockets with more cold hard cash from campaign contributors, for the second year in a row. The Senate and House completed passage of HB 2415 (.pdf), on Wednesday, which will increase campaign contribution limits by another 25%, because there is never enough money in politics, am I right? Contact the governor’s office today ad tell him to veto HB 2415. I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one.

Finally, the Senate completed action on HB 2649 (.pdf) on Wednesday, which clarifies the definition of “political committee” after the court struck down the legislature’s previous attempt to define “political committee” as too vague and ambiguous, effectively leaving Arizona without any regulation of political committees. This is an attempt to satisfy the court.

What this legislature did not do this session is consider any bills to increase the disclosure and transparency in campaign financing. Because Tea-Publicans loves them some anonymous “dark money.” Even Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s half-ass measure went nowhere in this legislature. Terry Goddard needs to actually file that “dark money’ citizens initiative his organization is raising money for, and start circulating the petitions.

Lastly, we have the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission to look forward to in June. It’s never a good bet to predict the outcome of a case, but court observers are of the opinion that the Court will strike down Arizona’s congressional districts by the AIRC. Well see. Such a ruling, overturning a portion of a citizens initiaitive, will usher in a new round of political warfare in Arizona this summer.

One response to “GOP voter suppression returns with a vengeance

  1. This is what republicans fear not you. 30%of white people vote democrat and that number does not vary much. A little higher in presidential election. Telling the governor or republican legislators to be good government officials and stop suppressing the hispanic vote so they can vote you out of office. I am sure that will impress them!