By Mark Richardson
After Donald Trump’s defeat at the polls last year, Republicans in the Arizona Legislature began filing a flurry of bills that could make it harder for some people to vote.
The legislation would require mail-in ballots to be notarized (HB 2369), or allow voters to receive ballots by mail but require they be dropped off at a polling station (SB 1503). Other bills would scrub early voting lists (SB 1069) and limit voter-registration drives (SB 1358).
Democrats claim most are trying try to “solve problems that don’t exist.” Irene Franco Rubio – community organizer with the group Our Voice, Our Vote Arizona – said GOP lawmakers aren’t trying hide their intentions.
“This isn’t a matter of knowing if voter suppression is right or wrong,” said Rubio. “We know it’s wrong, and we know that certain communities are being targeted. So we, as an organization, just want to empower our community members to recognize the power that they have and to make their voices heard.”
“I think we knew that the Republicans were going to attack us. The fact that they’ve introduced over 40 bills that directly attack voting rights here in the state of Arizona truly talks about the fact that this is backlash for Trump losing the election.”
Liz Luna, Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee
Sponsors of the election bills say they were filed in response to accusations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, although no credible evidence has surfaced to substantiate those claims.
One bill (HB 2720), which some are calling the “nuclear option,” would allow the Legislature—without evidence of wrongdoing—to set aside the will of the voters and decide the winner of Arizona’s presidential election.
Political observers say that measure, along with most of the other election bills, wouldn’t stand up to a legal challenge.
Liz Luna—deputy director of the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee—said she believes the GOP is reacting to a surge in Black, Latino and Native voters that helped Democrats take the top races in November.
“I think we knew that the Republicans were going to attack us,” said Luna. “The fact that they’ve introduced over 40 bills that directly attack voting rights here in the state of Arizona truly talks about the fact that this is backlash for Trump losing the election.”
Most of the bills are still awaiting hearings in legislative committees and are considered long shots to make it to a full vote. But Luna pointed out that, in her words, “No bill is ever really dead until the legislative session is gaveled to a close.”
Public News Service – AZ
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