Action Alert: bill to repeal HB 2305 and to deprive you of your right to a ‘citizens veto’ is back on the agenda today

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Your presence is requested. For those of you who have signed up for a legislative account to submit testimony online, now's your chance.

Rep. "Fast Eddie" Farnsworth's (R-Gilbert) bill to repeal the GOP Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305 subject to a citizens referendum ("citizens veto"), HB 2196 (.pdf), will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. January 30, at 10:00 a.m. in Room HHR 4. Even the the Arizona Repuublic's Laurie Roberts is warning the Legislature plotting end run around voters on election law: a fair amount of skullduggery is afoot:

Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, is running a bill – HB 2196 — that would repeal last year’s election law changes. The bill will be heard at 10 a.m. Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee.

Sounds good, right? The Legislature is handed its first referendum in 16 years and it responds by killing the referred law, seemingly heeding the will of at least 111,000 voters.

Well, don’t get too choked up over our leaders’ reverence for the will of the people.

A Republican insider has told me that the plan is to repeal last year’s election law then pass a series of up to six new bills, enacting the same measures that 111,000 voters put on hold last year.

That not only would negate the need for the referendum, but it would require Democrats to undertake six new petition drives if they wanted to kill the six new laws.

Sweet, huh?

The plan, this insider says, has broad support in GOP ranks but he questioned whether Republicans have really the chutzpah to follow through – and whether the courts would allow such a scheme once the inevitable lawsuit is filed.

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[I]n fact, it seems like a blatant end run around voters and the Arizona Constitution.

To reprise last week's press release from from the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee:

NEWS ALERT! House Committee to Vote on Repeal of HB2305

First Step in Effort to Circumvent Protect Your Right to Vote Referendum

PHOENIX — The Legislature will attempt on Thursday to revive a massive effort to make it more difficult for Arizonans to vote in 2014, a plan that had been put on ice by a successful citizen’s referendum during the summer.

The Protect Your Right to Vote Committee referendum gathered over 146,000 signatures to put the omnibus House Bill 2305 – which would prevent tens of thousands of eligible voters from casting ballots if it becomes law – to a statewide vote in 2014. According to recent media reports, incumbent lawmakers bent on getting tough with voters intend to circumvent the referendum vote by first repealing HB2305, and then re-passing the various voter roadblocks as new individual bills this session.

Step one begins Thursday morning when the House Judiciary Committee hears House Bill 2196, which repeals last session’s HB2305. Judiciary Chairman Eddie Farnsworth, R-Mesa, is the sponsor of both bills. The hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. in House Hearing Room 4, 1700 W. Washington Street.

“Repealing House Bill 2305 doesn’t mean that these politicians have suddenly seen the error of their ways,” said Julie Erfle, chairwoman of the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee. “It is clear that they will try to get tough on voters by passing the pieces as separate bills. This legislative dirty trick is a slap in the face to more than 146,000 Arizona voters who signed the Protect Your Right to Vote petitions, the majority of which were Republicans and independents.”

Erfle urged Arizona voters to attend the hearing or contact the Judiciary Committee members and tell them to respect the will of the people and vote no on Farnsworth’s bill. The Republican members (who are likely in favor of repealing HB2305) are:

Democratic committee members are:

“Although we oppose House Bill 2305, the voters of Arizona have earned the right to vote on this bill in November and we are confident they will reject it. The Legislature should leave it alone,” said Robbie Sherwood, executive director of ProgressNow Arizona and the spokesman for the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee. “What are these politicians afraid of? Once again this is an effort to limit the choices of voters by having politicians choose for them.”

BACKGROUND ON HB 2305:

  • HB2305 would make it a crime for volunteers to collect and drop off ballots at the polls.  These efforts help elderly, homebound, disabled and working voters to participate in elections.
  • HB2305 would kick voters off the Permanent Early Voting List if they fail to vote in two consecutive elections – both primary and general. This would decrease participation and disproportionally impact newly registered Latino, young and Independent voters who are not likely to vote if removed from this list.
  • HB2305 would keep third parties off the ballot by raising the signature requirement to put a candidate on the ballot for all political parties except Republicans. Ballot access for third party candidates will become unlikely, reducing voter choice. For example, the number of signatures required for Libertarian candidates would increase by 4,000 percent.
  • HB2305 makes it more difficult for Arizona citizens to engage in direct democracy or overturn bad laws passed by the Legislature through citizen initiatives. By instituting a host of minor technical barriers – including the margin size on petitions – that can be challenged in court, politicians are trying to take away an important right that’s been part of Arizona’s constitution since statehood. 

About the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee: The Committee is a coalition of more than 25 non-profit organizations working together to put HB2305 to a vote of the people.  These include civic engagement organizations, Latino voter engagement groups, conservation organizations, animal welfare groups and labor organizations.  It also includes leaders and members of the Libertarian, Green and Democratic parties.

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Rep. Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) could be the deciding vote in the House Judiciary Committee (a tie vote tables the bill). All eyes will be on you Dude, and voting rights activists will hold you accountable for your vote. Call Rep. Orr and demand that he give you the right to vote on your "citizens veto" of HB 2305 in November that you all worked so hard to achieve. Tell him to reject this cynical and mean-spirited attempt at GOP voter suppression.

2 responses to “Action Alert: bill to repeal HB 2305 and to deprive you of your right to a ‘citizens veto’ is back on the agenda today

  1. Shame on you, Ethan.

  2. Great article. Thanks for the heads up. Can you refresh our memories on how to sign up for a comment account with the Lege?