Action Alert: Tea-Publicans again try to criminalize voting activists (Updated)

I posted earlier this week Tea-Publicans are putting the monster of HB 2305 back together:

2305hb11One bill by Sen. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, requires any community volunteers who collect more than 10 early ballots and deliver them to polls to provide photo identification that would be made publicly available online.

Senate Bill 1340 (.pdf), which passed on a 16-12 vote and now moves to the House, would only apply to volunteers dropping off early ballots, a point Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, brought up in floor debate.

It  just got worse in the House. Tea-Publicans will revive one of the most controversial portions of HB 2305  via a last-minute strike-everything amendment from Rep. Michelle Ugenti (R-Scottsdale) to a bill scheduled to be heard in a special meeting of the House Elections Committee (.pdf) on Thursday “Upon Adj. of Floor” in House Hearing Room 4.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Lawmakers attempting to revive ‘ballot harvesting’ ban:

The strike everything amendment scheduled to be attached to SB1340 would make it a felony for volunteers from a political committee to collect mail-in ballots from voters and deliver them to elections officials, a tactic Latino get-out-the-vote groups have successfully used to increase voter turnout in mostly minority neighborhoods.

For the record, both the Republican Party and Democratic Party offer ballot pickup and delivery to voters, and have done so for years. The purpose and intent of this measure specifically is to target Latino voting organizations that in recent years have been offering this service to voters to increase Latino voter turnout. It was never a problem until a class of voters that Tea-Publicans do not want voting started doing it.

Robbie Sherwood, spokesman for the referendum against HB2305, said the revival of the “ballot harvesting” provision of the law comes in “the most underhanded and least transparent way they could possibly do this.”

“Clearly (Republican lawmakers) weren’t sincere when they repealed HB2305. We wanted to take them at their word, but you learn not to do that at the Arizona Legislature,” he said, noting that HB2305 was approved in the 11th hour of the legislative session as well.

Sherwood noted that there have been no documented cases of voter fraud associated with “ballot harvesting,” and that many of the ballots volunteers deliver to elections officials are picked up in the final days of the election after it is too late for voters to mail in ballots.

“The only motivation here is to drive down (voter) turnout in low-income neighborhoods, particularly Latino neighborhoods. That’s what this does,” Sherwood said.

* * *

Before Rep. Michelle Ugenti’s strike-everything amendment, the introduced version of SB1340 would have taken a similar  approach. But instead of outlawing the practice altogether, the bill would have forced volunteers to register with elections officials before gathering ballots from voters.

Secretary of State Michele Reagan, who introduced the “ballot harvesting” provision of the repealed [HB 2305] said late last October that she no longer supported outlawing the practice of ballot harvesting. Instead, she wanted to ensure there is some accountability in the system and that canvassers aren’t anonymous.

EmilyLitellaThat was, of course, a lie to purposefully mislead voters before the November election. Secretary of State Michele Reagan is now pulling an Emily Litella: “Never mind!” She now supports criminalizing voting activists again. You’re shocked, I’m sure.

Matt Roberts, Reagan’s spokesman, said she now supports the strike everything amendment.

Republican Sen. Don Shooter of Yuma, who sponsored the original version of SB1340, said he is OK with the strike everything amendment being added to his bill.

“I think it probably will improve the bill… It makes it a stronger bill.”

Those of you who are signed up for the Right to Speak (RTS) system should post your testimony now. Those of you who are available to attend the hearing today should attend the hearing to testify.

I have been advised that Rep. Heather Carter may be the swing vote on this Striker, so email hcarter@azleg.gov and call her office, (602) 926-5503.

UPDATE: The vote on the Striker to SB 1340 FAILED on a 3-3 tie vote today. Republican Heather Carter joined with Democrats Ken Clark and Jonathan Larkin to defeat the bill. Be sure to thank Heather Carter for standing up to do the right thing.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of bill that will get attached to another bill in the dying days of the session — it is never over until sine die. You have to watch these guys like a hawk.


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13 thoughts on “Action Alert: Tea-Publicans again try to criminalize voting activists (Updated)”

  1. Steve, the use of the terms I stated are used by a variety of conservative outlets as well as many that I associate with. I find it irritating as many times it is a angry cop out used out of context.

    Reading USA today, the mandatory voting was something the President floated during a conversation. This doesn’t mean it is something he wants as much as an idea floated (granted you must be careful of everything you say as a politician these days, even those with good intentions). However, I do support everyone being registered, I do not support Mandatory voting. If someone, as a citizen, wishes not to vote then that is their right as and American.

  2. This is what I have been writing about. The republiscum know that the hispanic vote will doom them in this state and nationally. While big shot white democrats spend their time on wringing their hands about dark money which is a threat to their ego trip run for state white office it does not threaten the hispanic vote. Diane douglas should have demonstrated to you that you need VOTES to get elected not dark money, she didn’t have much money but she had votes! This is where the fight should be made vote suppression or you get what you deserve!

    • It is interesting that you keep making the assumption that Hispanics will all vote Democrat. You may well be surprised given that most Latin cultures tend to be conservative in nature.

      • I do not make that assumption, but Tea-Publicans in our legislature certainly do when they target Latino voting rights organizations for criminalization. And then there is the GOP’s drift into becoming the modern-day Know Nothing Party with Deportation Republicans. I’m sure that’s a real winner for their Latino voter outreach.

        • I didn’t mean that comment for you, AZBlueMeanie. It was meant for the “Captain” whose every posting is about the rising hispanic vote that will sweep both Democrats and Republicans before it. Sorry for the confusion!

    • There is nothing wrong with this concept as long as does distinguish between legal residents (which may not be citizens) and citizens. Citizens have every right to vote (unless their right to vote has been revoked by the Courts) and I have no problem with them doing so. The State must take due diligence to ensure there is no voter fraud and if it does so, this is perfectly acceptable to me.

  3. What is it with Latino voters that they have to be spoon fed and molly coddled when it comes to voting? Every time this subject comes up it is discussed as if they are frightened baby deer that must gently persuaded with soft lights and gentle music or they will be startled and flee from the voting place. Voting has been made as simple as possible and yet it is still too threatening (according to posters here) for Latinos to show up to vote.

    Now I read that Obama is tossing around the idea of MANDATORY voting to force people to the voting booths. That is – without a doubt – one of the stupidest, most ridiculous and “tinhorn dictatorship” ideas this Administration has produced. I know he can’t do it without changing the Consitution, but it speaks volumes about Obama’s mindset to even discuss in a serious manner.

    • Easy there partner. Let’s fist be careful how the word dictator or Nazi or Hitler is thrown around since it seems to be overwhelmingly loved by the right these days. ALL presidents have exercised their power one way or another and just because Fox News disagrees doesn’t make it any worse then the last administrations. Read a history book on occasion that is not written by Beck or O’Reilly and you may find what was happening in Germany during the 30’s more resembles what is transpiring in our state legislator and not the White House. Besides, I believe it is automatic registration, not mandatory voting.

      Second, Your party is going to have to amend this legislation above as soon as our senior citizens, who have limited mobility, realize that their ballots can not be picked up and taken to the polls. I am sure this will be done as soon as it is found that the majority of them tend to vote in your direction.

      Lastly, why do you even care? The state house will just draft another law stating that anyone who registers to vote with the federal government’s help will be considered a felon.

      • I RARELY use the word Dictator and NEVER use the words Nazi or Hitler as comparisons for todays politicians or political movements. I carefully used the term “Tinhorn Dictatorship” in this regard because mandatory voting is a hallmark of most illegitimate Dictatorships. And yes, they are discussing mandatory VOTING, not registration, with serious monetary penalties assessed if a person fails to vote in national elections.

        Yes, this State does a lot of silly things regarding voting laws, and a lot of equally silly things are done in response. That still doesn’t answer why it is always Latino voters that must handled gently out of fear they will run from the voting booth. What frightens them so much? I know the cliches that many will spout, but an honest citizen with the right to vote has nothing to fear. The zeal with which excuses are made leaves the distinct impression that something isn’t right.

    • Some latinos have to be “Molly coddled” as you so patronizingly phrased it because they tend to be lower income and have to work multiple jobs at irregular hours and transportation can be an issue. Having a little help getting their ballot to the polls can mean a great deal to them. Why on earth would any american be against helping people to vote?

      Also please provide any proof whatsoever that president obama wants to institute mandatory voting. You do know that lots have democracies have this. Like that dictatorship called Australia.

      • The “proof” you require has been on all the local TV news stations today and can be found as current news stories on all their web sites. I was unaware Australia had mandatory voting, so I have to eat my words about only “Tinhorn Dictatorships” requiring it. That disappoints me about Australia but I can’t argue against facts.

        I have no problem with helping people to vote. Some people need assistance. What I find objectionable is often proffered excuse that Latino voter are afraid to vote. It comes in a variety of iterations, but it is always stated that Latinos must be led by the hand and gently stroked so they are not frightened away. That is preposterous. If you want to talk about patronizing and condescending, look no further than the assumption that Latino voters can’t do it on their own.

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