Before yesterday, it was apparent with the 2020 down-ballot results, the fringe Republican attempts to suppress the vote through the legislative or redistricting process, and potential voter apathy now that Donald Trump is no longer President, that Arizona Democrats, like-minded Independents, and sane Know Something Republicans needed an election Tsar to coordinate voter registration and turnout efforts in 2022, 2024, and beyond.
Appearing on the Billy Harfosh radio show on 99.9 FM, Former Arizona Democratic Party Spokesperson and current Vice President/Director of Public Affairs for Matters for State Strategies Matt Grodsky suggested Arizona needed its own version of former Georgia Democratic leader and 2018 Gubernatorial Nominee Stacey Abrams to counter Reactionary Republican attempts to suppress the vote.
The events of yesterday have made that need more urgent.
The Arizona Senate passed and Governor Ducey signed SB1485, a bill that, if the courts do not throw it out, could potentially throw off anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 people from the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) if they have not voted in all elections (primary and general) for two consecutive election cycles.
The specific language of the bill is cited below:
“ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 15 OF EACH ODD-NUMBERED YEAR, THE COUNTY RECORDER OR OTHER OFFICER IN CHARGE OF ELECTIONS SHALL SEND A NOTICE TO EACH VOTER WHO IS ON THE ACTIVE EARLY VOTING LIST AND WHO DID NOT VOTE AN EARLY BALLOT IN ALL ELECTIONS FOR TWO CONSECUTIVE ELECTION CYCLES AS PRESCRIBED BY SUBSECTION K OF THIS SECTION. IF THE VOTER HAS PROVIDED THE VOTER’S TELEPHONE OR MOBILE PHONE NUMBER OR EMAIL ADDRESS TO THE COUNTY RECORDER, THE COUNTY RECORDER MAY ADDITIONALLY PROVIDE THE NOTICE TO THE
VOTER BY TELEPHONE CALL, TEXT MESSAGE, OR EMAIL. THE NOTICE SHALL INFORM
THE VOTER THAT IF THE VOTER WISHES TO REMAIN ON THE ACTIVE EARLY VOTING
LIST, THE VOTER SHALL DO BOTH OF THE FOLLOWING WITH THE NOTICE RECEIVED.”
When this process, according to the language of the text, is supposed to start, appears to be subject to interpretation. January 15, 2021, has already passed so does this mean county recorder offices will be sending out notices on or before January 15, 2023, or before then?
Governor Ducey broadcasts a video Explaining his signing of SB1485
Doug Ducey, still harboring post-Gubernatorial political ambitions wasted no time catering to his fringe conservative base and signed SB1485. He broadcast the bill signing on video.
In the video, the Governor said:
- SB1485 was about election integrity although he boasted last winter that Arizona runs great elections and there is no evidence of widespread fraud.
- No Voter will be disenfranchised.
- The Arizona early voting system is better than the California one because the Grand Canyon State issues notices. He erred there. Please click here on the article that shows California issues notices.
- Business Interests should stay out of the public policy arena unless they know what they’re talking about.
Reaction from Democratic Political Groups and Activists.
It did not take long for Democratic political groups and activists to pounce on the passage of SB1485.
Arizona Democratic Party Chair (and Legislative District 30 State Representative) Raquel Teran issued a statement that read:
“More than 80 percent of Arizona voters use our popular and secure vote-by-mail system to make their voices heard. Creating barriers to voting is nothing more than retaliation by Republicans for losing the 2020 elections at the top of the ticket.
“After admitting that our elections were secure, Gov. Ducey could not wait to sign this bill to satisfy far-right radicals who believe conspiracy theories over facts. Instead of listening to the independent-minded voters of our state, the AZGOP is cutting out the voters who challenge their fringe agenda.
“Instead of leading, Ducey and the AZGOP handed their party over to conspiracy theorists. Arizona Democrats will remain focused on leading with our values and policies that will help our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, gain access to health care, and fully fund education.”
Arizona Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios, commenting to AZ Central said:
“We know this is going to be especially impactful for rural and tribal folks. And yet, we continue to pass bills under this guise of preventing fraud even though there has been little to no evidence produced of any actual fraud.”
Arizona House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding also released a statement that read:
“The speed with which Governor Ducey signed Senate Bill 1485 shows just how afraid of a fair fight Legislative Republicans have become. I want to thank everyone who cares about Democracy, including business leaders from around our state and around our country, for taking a stand for voting rights. I am sorry that Governor Ducey ignored you and let you down. The desperate desire of one party to game the system and hold onto power by erecting hurdles for voters of color and those with limited means overwhelmed any professed support for good public policy. Democrats, independents, seniors, Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, women, and young people — if you ever believed that your voice and your vote didn’t matter, this bill is an absolute reminder that it does. Never forget that Legislative Republicans are afraid of how you will vote so they made it harder for you to vote.”
Before Governor Ducey signed SB1485, Representative Bolding sent a letter to the Commissioner of the National Football League Roger Goodell, urging him to use his influence to get Mr. Ducey to veto the bill.
Please click below to read the letter.
The national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee also released a statement which relayed:
“This is voter suppression, plain and simple. Republicans are purging more than 100,000 Arizonans from voter rolls in a blatant attempt to reduce the number of voters in future elections.”
“Arizona Republicans are scared that their state will turn into the next Virginia as more and more voters turn out to vote for Democrats. But instead of winning the majority of voters with policy platforms, they’d rather limit who can vote to keep themselves in office.”
“If we’ve learned one thing in the past few months, it’s that Republicans will do anything to hold onto their power. From spreading conspiracy theories to fueling a deadly insurrection, the GOP has crossed every ethical boundary. This voter suppression bill is just one action of many by Republicans to rig elections in their favor.”
“Republicans say they care about election integrity. But their bogus claims of electoral fraud are just cover for extreme voter suppression, and they’re wasting taxpayer resources with their bogus ‘fraudit’ that’s nothing more than a wild goose chase for evidence of bizarre conspiracy theories. GOP lawmakers across the country have already filed over 360 bills that would restrict voting rights just in the 2021 legislative session — and they’ll keep filing more if they maintain control of legislative chambers.”
Former Arizona Democratic Party spokesperson and current Vice President/Director of Public Affairs for Matters of State Strategies Matt Grodsky wrote:
“This is an attack on Democracy and will serve as yet another blemish on Ducey’s legacy. These un-American schemes to subvert the will of voters cannot be allowed to stand. Rest assured Democrats will be reminding voters throughout the midterms about which party is working day and night to suppress Arizonans’ right to vote.”
To stop the Reactionary Republican quest to convert Arizona and the nation to an apartheid political system of minority rule, the Grand Canyon State and others whose people believe in Democracy should recruit their own equivalents of Stacey Abrams who could use their skills to recruit teams that will:
- Ensure everyone that is still alive and a resident remains on the Early Voting List.
- Help contest any new congressional, legislative, county, and city boundaries that appear to be rigged.
- Promote voter registration drives.
- Combat voter apathy and ensure high turnout during primary and general election cycles.
- Educate voters on the necessity to vote for all candidates up and down the ballot. Local races are just as vital as statewide and national ones.
The forces for Democracy and ensuring that everyone that has a right to vote can do so have time to counter the suppression designs of the Reactionary members of the former Party of Lincoln.
Do not waste it.