URGENT ARIZONA LEGISLATIVE ALERT

January 14, 2022

PRODUCED BY THE COCONINO COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE

While we continue to urge you to take action in support of the federal Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act before Tuesday, January 18, 2022, when the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up this critical legislation, please take a few moments to review current threats to democracy and voting rights in the State of Arizona.

We hope that this partial list below will inspire you to re-double your efforts to support the federal legislation, and also to take action on pending state legislation. Since we are in the earliest days of the legislative session, you can safely assume that this is only a sample of what is yet to come. If you have an RTS account, you will be able to go into RTS and give these bills a thumbs-up or thumbs-down by using the “My Bill Positions” feature. You can also telephone or email our legislators, the committee chairs, and/or speaker of the House or president of the Senate, or use this information in your letters to the editor and other advocacy work.

You will also find below a few pro-democracy bills to support.

To urge our U.S. Senators to vote in favor of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act:

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema:  Call (202) 224-4521 (DC) or (602) 598-7327. Email via her website at “http://www.sinema.senate.gov”  Tag the Senator in social media at @senatorsinema. 

Sen. Mark Kelly: Call (202) 224-2235 (DC). Email via his website at http://www.kelly.senate.gov Tag the Senator in social media at @senmarkkelly 

The D.C. voicemail boxes often are full. If that’s the case, be sure to use the email links above and also try calling their other offices.

For Senator Sinema:

  • Phoenix: 602-598-7327
  • Tucson:

For Senator Kelly:

  • Prescott 928-420-7732
  • Phoenix 602-671-7901
  • Tucson 928-420-7732

THE DIRTY DOZEN THREATS

1. Threats to Democracy: Stripping Voters of the Right to Choose Candidates

HCR 2011 – ELIMINATES DIRECT PRIMARY ELECTIONS FOR U.S. SENATE CANDIDATES – OPPOSE: This House Concurrent Resolution proposes amending the Arizona Constitution to eliminate citizen’s right to choose their candidates for the U.S. Senate. Instead, the members of each political party caucus of the Arizona House of Representatives and the Arizona Senate would meet and designate their party’s candidate. Each party would be allowed two candidates, and those two candidates would be the only ones that would appear on the primary ballot. Sponsored by Rep. Walt Blackman among others.

HB 2476 – CREATES TWO AT-LARGE POSITIONS FOR PRESIDENTIAL/VICE-PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS, WITH THE AT-LARGE ELECTORS  REQUIRED TO VOTE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AGGREGATE VOTE OF THE MEMBERS OF THE ARIZONA LEGISLATURE – OPPOSE: ARS 16-212.B currently provides that after the Secretary of State issues the statewide canvass containing the results of the presidential election, the presidential electors of Arizona shall cast their votes for candidates for president and vice president who received the highest number of votes as prescribed in the canvass. HB 2476 would create two new positions for “at-large electors.” These electors would then be pledged to vote for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the highest number of votes from the aggregate vote of the Arizona Legislature voting as a single body.

HB 2581 – REPEALS THE REQUIREMENT FOR INCUMBENT CANDIDATES IN STATE ELECTIONS TO SUBMIT NOMINATING PETITONS – OPPOSE. Under this bill, once a candidate is elected to the State Legislature or statewide office, they would no longer have to submit a nominating petition to run for re-election. Co-sponsored by Rep. Blackman.

2. Threats to Voter Registration

HB 2170 – RESTRICTIONS ON DISTRIBUTING VOTER REGISTRATION MATERIALS, INFORMATION, AND WEBSITE LINKS BY NONGOVERNMENTAL PERSONS – OPPOSE: This bill would require any nongovernmental person or entity that mails or sends by digital means (email, websites, etc.) or that provides a link to an official election-related document from the county recorder or office in charge of elections or secretary of state, including voter-registration applications and early ballot requests, to include a prominent notice “Not from a Government Agency” on the envelope or message. Not only is this notice is unnecessary and cumbersome, it would likely have the effect of discouraging the recipients from opening the envelope and/or reading the message and using website links to access official websites and online forms.

HB 2236 – PROHIBITS AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION – OPPOSE:

As described by the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Automatic voter registration (AVR) is a process in which eligible individuals are automatically registered to vote when interacting with certain government agencies, such as a department of motor vehicles. Information gathered from the government agency is transmitted to election officials who use it to either create a new voter record or update an existing registration. This process is triggered by interaction with a participating government agency, but it is not compulsory. Individuals may opt out of registration at the agency or later by returning a mailer, depending on the state.” As of January 2022, 22 states have adopted automatic voter registration. Co-sponsored by Reps. Barton and Blackman.

HB 2237 – PROHIBITS SAME-DAY VOTER REGISTRATION – OPPOSE. Co-sponsored by Reps. Barton and Blackman.

3. Threats to Vote-by-Mail

HB 2059, HB 2238, HB 2577 – PROHIBITING “UNMONITORED” BALLOT DROP BOXES – OPPOSE: Three of several bills that would prohibit the use “unmonitored” ballot drop boxes, but none of these bills define that term. HB 2059 is sponsored by Rep. Blackman; HB 2238 is sponsored by Reps. Barton and Blackman.

HB 2241 – REQUIRES ID FOR MAIL-IN BALLOT DROP-OFF – OPPOSE: This bill would also require anyone dropping off another person’s early ballot to provide identification and attest in writing that they are the voter’s family or household member of caregiver. Co-sponsored by Reps. Barton and Blackman.

HB 2577 – PROHIBITS ALL BALLOT COLLECTION – OPPOSE. This bill would repeal provisions allowing family members, household members, and caregivers to collect a voter’s early ballot and deliver it to a ballot drop box or polling place.

4. Threats to In-Person Early Voting

HB 2245 – SEVERELY RESTRICTS TIME PERIOD FOR IN-PERSON EARLY VOTING – OPPOSE: This bill would limit in-person early voting to the period beginning on the Saturday before election day through the Monday before election day. Co-sponsored by Rep. Barton.

HB 2571 – ELIMINATES IN-PERSON EARLY VOTING, LIMITS EARLY VOTING TO CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, PROHIBITS THE USE OF ELECTRONIC OR OTHER TABULATING MACHINES, AND REQUIRES HAND COUNTS FOR ALL ELECTIONS – OPPOSE. This lengthy bill, which does purport to carve out exceptions for voters with disabilities, would severely curtail early voting and make the elections process cumbersome, inefficient, and expensive. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Blackman, exemplifies voter suppression legislation.

5. Threats to Voting

HB 2240 – PROHIBITS VOTING CENTERS AND EMERGENCY VOTING CENTERS – OPPOSE: Co-sponsored by Rep. Barton.

HB 2288 – REPEALS LEGISLATION PROVIDING FOR EMERGENCY BALLOTING FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO BECOME ILL OR DISABLED BEFORE AN ELECTION, AND ALSO PROHIBITS EMERGENCY VOTING CENTERS – OPPOSE.

HB 2296 – ONLY GOVERNMENT-ISSUED IDS CAN BE USED FOR VOTING – OPPOSE. This bill proposes an amendment to the Arizona Constitution that would limit the types of identification that can be used for voting purposes. Voters would be limited to using an Arizona Drivers License or non-operating identification license; a tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification; or a federal, state, or local government-issued ID.

SB 1056 – DEEMS BALLOTS THAT HAVE BEEN MISPLACED OR OTHERWISE NOT COUNTED IN THE INITIAL VOTE TALLY INVALID – OPPOSE: Under this bill, ballots that may have been misplaced, even through simple human error, and not counted in the initial vote tally, are deemed invalid. The bill purports to create a cause of action against the governmental entity administering the election for a voter whose ballot has not been counted, but it is difficult to see how that would work.

SB 1058 – REQUIRES ALL VOTING TO TAKE PLACE INSIDE A POLLING PLACE OR VOTING CENTER – OPPOSE. While purporting to carve out an exception for voters with disabilities, this bill prohibits drive-up voting and outdoor ballot drop boxes. All voting must take place within a polling place or voting center; and all ballot drop boxes must be located inside a polling place or voting center and under the supervision of a trained elections worker. Sponsored by Sen. Rogers.

6. Threats to Federal Voting Rights

Several bills seek to undermine the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires among other things that voter registration applications must state each voter eligibility requirement (including citizenship), contain an attestation that the applicant meets each requirement, state the penalties provided by law for the submission of a false voter registration application, and require the signature of the applicant under penalty of perjury. The State of Arizona, through Prop 200, previously attempted to require that people who use the federal voter registration form must also submit documentation proving their citizenship. In 2013, in Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, in a 7-2 opinion authored by conservative justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that in requiring only attestation under penalty of perjury, NVRA preempted any additional state requirements of proof of citizenship for voting in federal elections.

OPPOSE: HB 2492, HB 2577 co-sponsored by Rep. Blackman, SCR 1005, SB 1012, SB 1013

7. Threats to School Board Elections

SB 1010 – CHANGES ALL SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD ELECTIONS FROM NONPARTISAN TO PARTISAN ELECTIONS – OPPOSE. This proposal would increase the already undue pressure on school boards to turn their focus on what is in the best interests of the students to what plays best the political arena.

8. Threats to Elections Administration and Accurate Counts

These bills would make the elections process more cumbersome, time-consuming, and costly, and are potentially difficult if not impossible to implement. They also have the potential to result in inaccurate and/or unreliable counts.

HB 2041, SB 1120, and SB 1028 – BALLOT FRAUD COUNTERMEASURES – OPPOSE and/or MONITOR: These bills propose numerous extremely detailed and costly requirements for the types of paper and ink that can be used to print and mark ballots, striving to achieve “banknote-level security”. As a practical matter, county elections offices throughout the state may find it impossible to comply with these requirements in a timely manner. HB 2041 co-sponsored by Rep. Blackman, and SB 1028 is sponsored by Sen. Wendy Rogers.

HB 2080 – ALL BALLOT-COUNTING MUST BE DONE BY HAND – OPPOSE: This bill would prohibit the use of machines and devices in general and primary elections, except for quality control checks and to otherwise verify the hand-count of ballots. Co-sponsored by Rep. Barton.

HB 2239 – PROHIBITS THE USE OF ELECTRONIC VOTE ADJUDICATION SYSTEMS – OPPOSE. Co-sponsored by Reps. Barton and Blackman.

HB 2287 – PROHIBITS COMBINING OR SPLITTING PRECINCT POLLING PLACES FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES – OPPOSE.

9. Threats to Local Government Authorities and Programs

SB 1035, SB 1198 – PROHIBITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS FROM CONTRACTING OR SPENDING MONEY ON LOBBYISTS – OPPOSE. These bills would prohibit all counties, cities, towns, school districts, and special districts from employing professional lobbyists. Lobbyists, however, serve a vital purpose in assisting their clients in marshalling and presenting information to lawmakers that can help everyone make better decisions. Because this legislation could make it more difficult for local governmental entities to effectively advocate on behalf of their constituents, we recommend opposing these bills.

SB 1058 – ELIMINATES THE ROLE OF COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS IN SELECTING REPLACEMENTS WHEN LEGISLATIVE VACANCIES OCCUR – OPPOSE: Under this bill, precinct committeepersons would choose replacements.

10. Threats to Direct Democracy (Initiatives and Referenda)

SB 1094 – REQUIRES CIRCULATORS TO READ PETITIONS OUT LOUD TO ANY VOTER INTERESTED IN SIGNING A PETITION – OPPOSE. While this bill also provides that the circulator may alternatively give anyone interested in signing a petition sufficient time to read the petition, the requirement of reading an entire petition out loud, other than for those who are unable to read, is unnecessarily burdensome. Voters must also affirm that they have heard or read the entire petition prior to signing the petition.

11. Threats to Fair and Impartial Investigation and Prosecution of Election Fraud

SB 1027 – CREATES A NEW ELECTIONS BUREAU IN THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE TO INVESTIGATE FRAUD – OPPOSE: This bill, sponsored by Sen. Rogers would create a new bureau in the governor’s office and appropriate $5 million for FY 2022-2023 to investigate allegations of fraud in local, state, and federal elections. This bill is problematic in that it duplicates the investigative and legal services provided by the Arizona Attorney General’s Election Integrity Unit, and that it lodges the function of fraud investigation in an office that is overtly political.

12. Threats to Participation in Political Parties

HB 2018 – PROHIBITS POLITICAL PARTIES FROM USING PROXIES AT THEIR MEETINGS – OPPOSE. This proposed bill prohibits all use of proxies, no exceptions.

PRO-DEMOCRACY MEASURES THAT YOU CAN SUPPORT

These bills, sponsored by Democratic legislators, would advance democracy, civil rights, and voting rights.

HB 2076 – PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE ELECTIONS, INDEPENDENT VOTERS – SUPPORT: This bill would allow voters who are not registered with a political party (Independents) to vote in the presidential preference (primary) election without changing their registration status.

HB 2077 – COUNTY-ADMINISTERED, SCHOOLBOARD, AND PRECINCT COMMITTEEPERSON ELECTIONS, ONLINE SIGNATURE COLLECTION – SUPPORT: This bill would authorize the Secretary of State to establish an electronic system allowing voters to sign candidate nominating petitions online.

HB 2078 – ONLINE INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM PETITION SIGNATURES-COLLECTION – SUPPORT: This bill would authorize the Secretary of State to establish an electronic system allowing voters to sign initiative and referendum petitions online.

HB 2092 – AUTHORIZES THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO REVIEW INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM PETITIONS FOR LEGAL SUFFICIENCY BEFORE FILING WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE – SUPPORT. This bill would improve the petition process by allowing political committees to correct any legal deficiencies in the wording of their petitions before filing their petitions and undertaking the signature-collection process.

HB 2194 – NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE – SUPPORT: This bill would make Arizona a party to the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.

HB 2259 – AUTOMATIC RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS FOR INDIVIDUALS CONVICTED OF FELONIES WHO HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED FROM PROBATION OR WHO HAVE RECEIVED AN ABSOLUTE DISCHARGE FROM IMPRISONMENT – SUPPORT.

HB 2402 – AUTHORIZES AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION AND SAME-DAY REGISTRATION – SUPPORT.

SB 1043 – MAKES ELECTION DAY A STATE HOLIDAY, WITH VOTERS ALLOWED TO TAKE TIME OFF FROM WORK WITHOUT LOSING THEIR PAY OR SUFFERING OTHER PENALTIES – SUPPORT. While several bills have been introduced in the Legislature to designate Election Day a state holiday, this is the only bill so far that would also provide that workers could take time off to vote without suffering any financial or other penalties. Sponsored by Rep. Rogers.

SB 1149 – AUTHORIZES COUNTIES TO CONDUCT MAILED BALLOT ELECTIONS – SUPPORT. This bill would allow counties to conduct mailed ballot elections provided at least 60 percent of the eligible voters are on the active early voter list.

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