Thanks to Indivisible for putting together the following information:
Republicans in the state legislature have introduced a flurry of bills to undermine voting rights in Arizona.Their strategy is simple: if Arizona is starting to vote for Democrats, they will just make it harder to vote. It’s up to us to stop this blatant attack on democracy.
How are Republicans trying to undermine voting rights in Arizona?
Burdens to early voting and voter registration:
Arizona saw a massive increase in early voting in the 2018 election, with early voting totals alone surpassing the entire voter turnout of the 2014 midterm election. With huge surges in Democratic early voting, Republicans are retaliating by trying to impose barriers on early voting. Like all attempts to suppress the vote, we know these voter suppression efforts would disproportionately impact communities of color. Republican Michelle Ugenti-Rita (LD 23) has introduced four bills to make it harder to vote early: SB 1046, SB 1072, SB 1188 and SB 1090.
SB 1046: Early ballots cannot be returned in person
SB 1046 requires early voters to turn in their early ballots by mail only, preventing them from dropping off early ballots at polling locations on Election Day. Early voters who try to drop off their ballot would be forced to wait in line to cast a provisional ballot.
In 2018, about 320,000 voters returned their early ballots on Election Day. Forcing hundreds of thousands of voters to wait in line would increase wait times and unnecessarily increase the burden on both election day voters and early voters. Furthermore, adding hundreds of thousands of provisional ballots would add both time and cost to the ballot-counting process.
Status: Several Republicans have come out publicly against SB 1046, which means it is (hopefully) dead!
SB 1072: Require photo ID for early voting
SB 1072 would require a photo ID for in-person early voting. Currently, early voters must prove their identity with a signature, which is matched to the signatures on file. This bill would require in-person early voters to provide a photo ID (in addition to their signature, which they already have to do) to vote early. Since early voters would no longer just drop off their early ballot and would be required to stand in line and provide ID, this will lead to longer lines at the polls and place undue burden on all voters on Election Day.
Status: SB 1072 has passed through the Senate and is headed to the House Elections Committee on Tuesday, March 5th.
SB 1188: Purge early voter lists
SB 1188 would remove voters from the permanent early voter list if they fail to vote in two primary or general elections. We saw a similar type of “use it or lose it” used in Georgia in 2018 to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. Voters who are purged from the early voting list would wait for their ballot only to have it never arrive. Since Arizona does not allow registration on election day, these people would be locked out of voting.
Status: SB 1188 has passed through policy committee in the Senate. The next step for this bill is known as Committee of Whole (COW), where floor amendments could be made. The next stop after COW is a final floor vote, where the bill would need to pass with a majority before crossing over to the House. This bill hasn’t moved in a few weeks so we are knocking on wood that it could be dead, but also prepared for it to move at any time.
SB 1090: Burdens for emergency voting
Currently, voters must inform elections officials 11 days in advance if they would like to vote early. Voters who realize they cannot vote on Election Day due to an emergency but miss this deadline are still allowed vote early by casting an emergency ballot. In 2018, almost 3,000 voters used emergency voting.
SB 1090 would require emergency voters to provide a photo ID and sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury that the emergency was unavoidable and that they would not be able to vote otherwise. Again, this places unnecessary barriers to voting that will both discourage emergency voting and increase wait times for those that utilize it. There is also potential that these affidavits, which would contain private information about voters, could be made public in a court of law during a contested election.
Status: SB 1090 has passed through the Senate and is now headed to the House. However, the author has indicated that she may amend it to be less terrible in the House so we’ll keep our eyes out for that.
HB 2616: Crime to register voters as part of your job
HB 2616 would make it illegal for anyone to receive money or other compensation for registering people to vote. This would include not only some of Arizona's leading voter registration organizations, but DMV employees where voter registration takes place, people who work for the County Recorder, even librarians and health workers who register people to vote as a piece of their overall work in the community. It would even prohibit giving volunteers who register voters anything of value—lunch, gas, a bottle of water, etc.
Status: HB 2616 passed through the House Elections Committee. However, Indivisibles and partners packed that hearing so the author has now promised to amend the bill. We’re waiting for the language of the new amendments.
Undermining citizen-led ballot initiatives
HCR 2005 / SCR 1023: Makes qualifying a ballot initiative more difficult
HCR 2005 and SCR 1023 would ask the voters to restrict Arizona’s initiative and referendum process by requiring ballot measures to collect signatures from a minimum percentage of voters in each of Arizona’s 30 legislative districts: 5% for referendums, 10% for initiatives, and 15% for a constitutional amendment. This would effectively give any single legislative district veto powers over the rest, allowing a small minority (the most conservative or liberal area in the state) to veto measures that have broad support. This is a direct attack on citizen-led initiatives in Arizona.
Status: SCR 1023 and HCR 2005 passed through their respective chamber’s Elections committees and are awaiting the next step known as Committee of Whole (COW), where floor amendments could be made. The next stop after COW is a final floor vote, where the bill would need to pass with a majority before crossing over to the opposite house.
SB 1451: Excessive burdens on volunteers collecting ballot initiative signatures
SB 1451 is yet another power grab from politicians who are scared of voter’s power. This bill would require petitions to be identified and submitted by each signature collector, adding unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles to the already intensive process of gathering signatures to qualify an initiative. This is an attempt to once again weaken voters’ right to put ballot measures to a vote of their fellow citizens.
Status: SB 1451 passed through the Senate Elections Committee and is awaiting the next step known as Committee of Whole (COW), where floor amendments could be made. The next stop after COW is a final floor vote, where the bill would need to pass with a majority before crossing over to the House.
Call Your State Senator Now
Your constituent power can make a real impact! Call your state Senator and tell them that voting is a cornerstone of democracy and should be made as easy as possible in our state! Call Now!
How do we defend democracy in Arizona?
While prospects can look bleak in a Republican-controlled state, there is hope of stopping these bills. Even though Democratic gains are the impetus for these Republican efforts, those same gains also have Republicans in the statehouse a little scared, presenting an opportunity for your constituent pressure to make a real impact.
State of play and how we win
Republicans are trying to overwhelm us by moving so many anti-democratic bills at once. But victory is possible.
Republicans control the Senate 17-13, meaning we only need to peel off TWO Republicans to kill any of these bills on the floor of the Senate.
Meanwhile, Republicans only control the House 31-29, meaning we only need ONE to defect to kill a bill in the House.
We can do this if we keep fighting! Be prepared for a rapid response!
If we pressure Republicans enough, we can prevent these bills from ever making it to the floor because they rarely schedule a floor vote if they don’t have the votes to pass the bill. We did it once already and we have to be ready to do it again!
But if these bills do hit the floor, be prepared to respond rapidly by showing up at the Arizona capitol to flood the gallery and show legislators that we’re watching!
Will you join All Voting is Local in defending your right to vote?
All Voting is Local Arizona is fighting to ensure every citizen has access to the ballot. Are you with us in the fight for a fair democracy free from needless obstacles to the ballot?
About the bills:
SB 1188 would purge voters from the Permanent Early Voting List simply for not voting.
SB 1046 would prevent voters on the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) from dropping off their ballots at a polling place. This would only add time and cost to counting ballots.
SB 1072 would create a new barrier to the ballot for voters (currently your signature is your ID) and additional burdens for election officials.
SB 1090 would restrict emergency voting and require voters to have a sworn document to cast an emergency ballot, creating an additional burden for voters.
HB 2616 would make many voter registration drives a crime.
Use this form to email your Arizona state legislators using the form below if you’re committed to ensuring all eligible Arizonans have the right to vote.