Voters turned out in record numbers to exercise their rights as citizens to vote in the 2018 election in Arizona. Some races were not decided until the last ballot was counted. In some cases this took additional time after the election since many ballots were dropped off at polling places on election day or at county collection points at other times. SB 1046, introduced by Ugenti Rita (R 23) is a blatant attempt to restrict voting rights and potentially disenfranchise a large number of Coconino County voters. The bill would make it illegal to drop off your mail-in ballot at a polling place on election day or any other day at a central county drop off point. The only way your ballot will be counted is if it is mailed in and arrives by Election Day.
In 2018, 3,610 Coconino County voters dropped their mail-in ballots off at a polling place on Election day. In addition, 4,900 Coconino County voters dropped off their mail-in ballots at central county collection points before Election day. These 8,510 Coconino County voters, representing 23% of those voting in Coconino County in 2018, under this new legislation, have the potential of not having their votes count in future elections. This is a non-partisan issue since it will affect anyone who gets their ballot via the mail!
Voting rights and free access to voting by all is essential in a free and healthy Democracy. Elected leaders should dedicate themselves to making access to polls easier for all Coconino County voters and promoting as much voter participation as possible.