Arizona Republicans think too many people voted, too many people volunteered, too many people registered other citizens to vote, and too many politicians said “no” to big money politics in the 2018 election.
All of that voter participation created in the highest voter turnout… ever. The result was… Republicans lost seats!!!! The Republicans who got elected to the Arizona Legislature are out to fix that problem with multiple voter suppression bills and yet another attack on the independence of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
Each year of the Arizona Legislature seems to have a theme. For 2017, the theme was big tax giveaways. For 2018, it was Red for Ed. The theme for 2019 is voter suppression. One of the Democrats suggested that perhaps the Republicans are overreacting to their losses in 2018. After all, when you suppress the vote, you suppress everyone’s vote to some degree.
The sheer volume of voter suppression bills is staggering.
Together, Senators Michelle Ugenti-Rita, Vince Leach, and David Gowan and Reps. Kelly Townsend, Leo Biasiucci and John Fillmore have sponsored bills that:
- Make it more difficult to vote, overall,
- Make the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) not “permanent” (Ugenti-Rita SB1188),
- Limit early “emergency” voting at voting centers and require voters to sign an affidavit stating their unavoidable emergency (Ugenti-Rita SB1090),
- Require additional identification to vote, which amounts to a poll tax (Ugenti-Rita SB1072),
- Criminalize volunteers who collect signatures or register people to vote (Townsend HB2616),
- Put even more unnecessary and burdensome regulations on the collection of signatures for Citizens Initiatives (Leach SB1451),
- Lengthen the amount of time political signs litter our streets, thus helping incumbents and candidates with lots of money to waste on littering our streets with blight for months (Fillmore’s HB2131),
- Move the primary date up to early August, which would make early voting in July when most college students are gone, and everyone else is on vacation, which helps incumbents (Gowan SB1154),
- Solidify big money politics in Arizona by attacking the independence of Clean Elections Commission (Biasiucci’s HB2724).
Yes, this is a Republican full court press against your rights to vote and to create new laws via the Citizens Initiative. Many of these bills are still in play, and you can use the Request to Speak system to comment.
I should note that ONE good elections bill did pass both houses: Ugenti-Rita’s SB1054 which puts into statute procedures for a signature validation “cure” period for PEVL ballots. (In 2018, we learned the county recorders had different procedures for reconciling signatures.)
Unfortunately, SB1072 (even stricter voter ID laws) passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey. Sorry, US Passport card, veterans’ ID, student ID and tribal ID, those cards not valid IDs to vote in the state of Arizona because they don’t have street addresses. It’s only a minor detail to the Republicans that many rural Arizona residents have P.O. boxes– and not street addresses.
Stopping people from voting is anti-Democratic.