Fair Elections Initiative on the Ballot

The initiative known as the Arizona Fair Elections Act garnered more than twice the signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot. Subject to expected legal challenges, voters will be able to reverse the GOP-controlled legislature’s drive to destroy voting rights in Arizona.

The initiative measure would make major changes to election law aimed at safeguarding the right to vote, outlawing unofficial election audits, bolstering citizen initiatives and referendums, expanding the state’s public campaign finance system, and limiting the influence wealthy donors have on campaigns.

 It would mandate automatic voter registration of everyone who gets a driver’s license or state ID card and would allow for same-day registration at polling places. The measure would also undo changes made in 2021 to the state’s early voting list that require election officials to stop sending early ballots to voters who don’t use them in multiple election cycles.

It would also expand the number of ballots counted: Early ballots currently must arrive at the election office by 7 p.m. on Election Day, but the proposed ballot measure would allow mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted, even if they arrive later. The measure also would expand the number of early ballots with mismatching signatures that can be “cured” by elections officials who verify the ballot’s authenticity with the voter.

Other provisions aim to protect voters’ power at the ballot box: Changes made by lawmakers in recent years to make it easier to kick citizen initiatives or referendum efforts off the ballot for technical and clerical errors would be undone. And outside groups looking to challenge a ballot measure would only be able to do so by challenging the number of valid signatures submitted, not the actual contents of the measure.

On the campaign finance front, the measure would slash contribution limits from $6,250 to either $1,000 or $2,500, depending on what office the candidate was seeking. It would also dramatically expand the amount of money candidates could receive under the Clean Elections public campaign financing system.

Read more: Arizona Mirror

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