Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Yesterday 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
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
* * *
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
“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.