by David Safier
An Elections Integrity friend alerted me to two bills that would change the way people vote in Arizona. One is horrendous. The other could be bad if it was misused.
SB1330 would take away the ease, and therefore the advantages, of using mail-in ballots. It requires that mail-in ballots be notarized, unless an "inkless fingerprint recording system" is on the envelope, whatever that is. Getting a ballot notarized involves driving to a notary, standing around until the process is completed and probably paying for the service. In other words, it means low income, low efficacy voters would find mail-in ballots a costly inconvenience instead of an easy way to vote. Someone doesn't like the fact that Democrats are trying to encourage voting by getting people to sign up for vote-by-mail. The one and only sponsor: Frank Antenori.
HB2303 looks more benign, but it could be another way to discourage "the wrong kind of voters" — meaning Democrats. It would allow counties to create "voting centers" either in addition to or in place of the usual polling places. The advantage is, anyone in the county can use the voting centers regardless of precinct, so that makes things easy. The problem is, if a county cuts back on the neighborhood polling places and strategically locates the voting centers, some voters could be disenfranchised simply because they would have to travel so far to vote. My Elections Integrity friend also pointed out that the post election hand counting of ballots could be rendered almost useless because ballots from a number of precincts would be mixed together.
Requiring notarization of mail-in ballots is clearly a partisan maneuver to stop Democrats from expanding their voting base. The creation of voting centers, however, has a Democratic sponsor (along with six Republicans) and was passed unanimously in the House and Senate committees, so Democrats may know something I don't. Then again, they may not have considered how the locations of voting centers could be used against them.