Beware the political party that preaches freedom and then does everything it can to suppress it and take rights away from the voter.
That is the Arizona Republican Party who, having failed to stop the initiative process on measures like the raising in the minimum wage or convince voters that their ideas are better for them and the state, have attempted, again and again, to find new methods to make voting (especially early voting and mail-in balloting) harder and making non candidate petitions more difficult to process.
As the Republican legislature finalized its Republican only budget, it took one last fiscal stab at making voting and petition gathering more difficult.
In the dark hours of the last few days, the Republicans passed, on a party-line vote, HB 2747 (commonly known now as the Boyers Amendment). This amendment, using language sleight of hand, has severely reduced the monies the Secretary of State office can use for election services by categorizing the funds under the Presidential Preference Election. Because of this, the office of the Secretary of Education will have not enough funds to:
- Provide matching funds for the Help America Vote Grant which assists in the funding of cybersecurity mechanisms for elections.
- Process petitions for initiatives and candidates.
- Maintenance and Repair of the statewide voter registration database.
In an email to the members of the Arizona State Legislature, Betty McEntire, the Director of Legislative Affairs to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs wrote that:
“In summary, the impact to our office in not having the ability to use Elections Services for election-related expenses other than the PPE (Presidential Preference Election) will result in our office not having a critical $1.375 million to ensure that our elections are secure and carried out fairly and accurately…..”
“Lastly, the amount appropriated for the PPE is not even close to the $7 million dollars the county election officials said they need to ensure the PPE runs smoothly.”
Despite this plea from the Secretary of State Office, the Bowers Amendment still passed on a party-line vote.
Issuing a statement following the passage of the vote, Secretary Hobbs stated that:
“The legislature finished its business early this morning without restoring the SOS Election Services line item in the budget. Regardless, I remain committed to ensuring our elections are accessible, secure, and fair. Our work will continue in earnest, and we will reach out to the governor’s office, members of the legislature and county officials to find opportunities to collaborate. This office received amazing support from the community during these past few days. I am grateful and encouraged by the enthusiasm Arizonans showed for elections. Thank you for standing with us.”
A legislator or members of a political party who openly champion measures that suppress Democracy do not deserve to hold governing seats in a Democracy.
Voters should be made aware again and again that the Republican Party of Lincoln, the political engine that first advocated civil rights and progressivism in the United States, no longer exists and should be defeated at the next election so its members can not threaten democracy, the right to vote or petition, or freedom again.