AZ GOP war on voting continues unabated

1
269

The evil GOP bastards in the Arizona legislature never stop trying to restrict your right to vote and to disenfranchise you.

The Arizona House voted Monday to create some new crimes for certain voter-registration activities in a move several lawmakers suggested will suppress voting, particularly by the young and minorities. The Arizona Capitol Times reports, House passes bill to put more restrictions on voter registration:

HB 2616 (.pdf) would make it a misdemeanor to pay someone based on the number of people they sign up to vote. Violators would be subject to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Conspiracy mongering Anti-vaxxer Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, said the measure is designed to deal with problems presented to her by some county recorders who say they are finding large numbers of fraudulent registrations.

Laurie Roberts of The Republic provides the detail, After taking a beating 2018, Republicans are looking to put limits on voter registration:

House Bill 2616 is the brainchild of Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, who says she is concerned that people are turning in fraudulent registration forms in order to get paid.

Indeed, Yuma County Recorder Robyn Stallworth Pouquette told the House Elections Committee last month that her office in 2016 found and rejected 344 registration forms for voters who did not exist.“

The process works, the system works, she said. “Those individuals representing a fraudulent form are not now registered voters but that is because our staff has spent significant time and resources in processing those forms that were unnecessary and out of principle, I find it unfathomable that we would not express our concern.”

In other words, county workers did their jobs. The fake registrations were caught and presumably, the person responsible is prosecuted.

And we need to change a law that worked why?

Capitol Times continues:

“We have people going in the phone book and filling out voter registrations with names in the phone book,” Townsend said. “We’ve got people who are making up names.”

But the part of the measure that caused more concern would require that filled-out voter registration forms must be sent in within 10 days or there is a four-month jail term.

Rep. Kirsten Engel, D-Tucson, said that she, as a candidate, always has carried around such forms when going door-to-door in case she would come across someone who wanted to register. Engel said she would send them in when she had a small pile.

“All of a sudden now, you don’t send them in within 10 days, you’re subject to a criminal infraction,” she said.

Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen, said all that will chill efforts, often by volunteers, to get people signed up.

He noted this is not the only House-passed measure aimed at voting, citing another bill which requires people who drop off their early ballots at voting centers to provide identification, something not now in law. [The Senate has already passed its version, SB 1072 (.pdf).] Foes of that measure say some people don’t have the kind of ID the legislation would require.

“It’s clear to me that the real driving force behind these bills is to keep down the number of votes, especially from those who are young, those who are old, those who are poor and those who are minority voters,” Bolding said.

That drew an objection from Townsend who said House rules prohibit members from commenting on what they believe are each other’s motives. (Another GOP snowflake). Bolding, however, refused to back down, even suggesting that there are lawmakers who want to keep turnout low, especially among some groups.

“What we know is that when more people go to the ballot, when we see more individuals voting, you’ll see effects just like you saw in 2018,” he said, with less support for certain types of politicians.

“Republicans know, just like Democrats know, that the more people who vote the less likely we will see an extreme Legislature that is forcing policies that don’t reflect the state of Arizona,” Bolding said. And he suggested that last year’s election, where Democrats picked up four seats in the House — reducing the GOP edge to 31-29 — has worried some on the other side of the aisle.

“I do not think it’s a mistake that we consistently see voter suppression bills this cycle,” Bolding said.

Townsend, however, argued that her legislation actually helps enfranchise voters.

“I cannot believe that we are arguing that we should be able to look the other way when someone commits fraud, when someone purposely keeps back voter registration, for whatever reason, in a nefarious way,” she said. Townsend said this is designed to protect those who thought they had registered “and instead their registration form is sitting on someone’s desk for some purpose I don’t understand, sometimes until after the election.”

But Bolding said if Republicans were truly interested in ensuring that everyone who wants to vote gets to vote they would support automatic voter registration. That system, in effect in some states, signs people up to vote when they get a driver’s license and provide proof of citizenship.

While all the Republicans voted in favor of the measure, Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, said she was uncomfortable with at least some of the language, particularly in how that 10-day limit is applied. She said there could be circumstances where a volunteer turns in a slip in plenty of time to an organization but that group fails to get the form off within 10 days of when it originally was filled out.

The measure now goes to the Senate.

Laurie Roberts of The Republic adds:

[W]e should do all that we can to ensure that those who are entitled to vote – and only those who are entitled to vote – can vote.

And as it turns out, there’s an easy way to do that.

House Bill 2215 would automatically register you to vote when you apply for or renew your driver’s license, assuming you are eligible to vote. Same if you apply for a MVD-issued identification card.

No need for voter registration drives or innocent volunteers who might find themselves caught up in a crime or crooks who would phony up voters in order to get paid because every eligible voter already would be registered.

And isn’t that a good thing?

Curiously, that bill didn’t even rate a hearing.

Meanwhile, HB 2616 – which would turn citizens in criminals and, I suspect, voters into non-voters – passed the House Monday on a party line vote.

On the Senate side of the legislature, SB 1188 (.pdf) would remove voters from PEVL if they don’t use their early ballot – either by mailing it back or dropping it off an a polling place or election center – in at least one of two consecutive primary and general elections. The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Senate bill could scratch 200K voters from early voter list:

The bill’s sponsor, (the new reigning queen of GOP voter suppression -A.B.M.) Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, amended the bill to clarify that the participation requirement only applies in elections with federal, statewide or legislative races on the ballot.

Had the bill been in effect for the past two election cycles, roughly 200,000 voters would be removed from PEVL, according to an estimate from Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. That’s the number of registered voters who failed to cast an early ballot in any of the primary or general elections in 2016 or 2018.

Even if a PEVL voter participates by voting the traditional method – at a polling place before or on election day – they’d still be at risk of being booted from the mailing list because they didn’t vote using their early ballot.

Democrats have argued against the measure, which bears similarities to efforts in other states to purge voters from registration rolls. Democrats argued in the Senate Judiciary Committee that Ugenti-Rita’s effort undercuts the point of PEVL – it’s got the word “permanent” in its name, after all – and could sow confusion among voters who sign up for an early ballot and expect to receive one each election, no matter what.

Ugenti-Rita has argued that, unlike efforts in Ohio and other states, no one in Arizona will be unregistered to vote. They simply won’t receive a ballot by mail anymore.

Amendments to the bill authorize county election officials to notify a voter that they’re being removed from PEVL, and alert them to ways to sign up for the mailing list again.

SB1188 narrowly passed the Senate on March 7 by a nearly party line vote. All the chamber’s 13 Democrats voted against the bill, while all but one Republican, Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, voted for it.

The bill now awaits a hearing in the House Elections Committee.

You know what to do. Contact your state legislators and tell them that you oppose these and other GOP bills to restrict your vote and to disenfranchise voters.

But be forewarned. Rep. Kelly Townsend will say that your contacting her regarding your constituent views on pending bills is “bullying” her, the snowflake. Kelly Townsend says she’s target of #RedForEd ‘bullying’.




1 COMMENT

  1. First, these voter suppression tactics are in the national playbook, used in many States, 100% by Republican legislatures, look at Florida, or lame duck sessions in the dead of night in Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and others. Second, these are the tactics of autocrats, look at Erdogen, Putin, Meduro, the Thai generals, or any tinpot president for life in various African countries. Voting processes are manipulated, voided or amended to get the outcome the autocrats want. Forget China, Cuba, or North Korea, they don’t even pretend to have real democratic systems. Third, it’s embarassing to democratic processes, they show real contempt the sovereignty of the people. These tinpot Republican legislature believe they are absolutely sovereign, they can’t be questioned. And if voters have the audacity to override them, we will show them who is boss.

Comments are closed.