For years liberal groups have aimed to unravel basic election integrity practices in the state of Arizona.  From repealing ballot harvesting to pushing for same day voter registration – the goal is a California-style free for all where anything goes.  Even amidst legal defeats that have forced California to remove staggering numbers of inactive and unverified voters from their rolls, extremists continue to try to import these same policies in our state.

Case in point, an initiative dubbed the “Fair Elections Act” was recently filed with the Secretary of State’s office and includes almost every possible measure to erode safe, secure and honest elections in Arizona.  

Among the worst of the provisions is the creation of a “democracy voucher” system which would furnish every registered voter with certificates of $50 – $150 in order to facilitate small dollar political contributions.  Despite claiming to be a tool to empower average Arizonans to exercise choice and their political voice, these funds would only be eligible to be given to candidates running via the Clean Elections Commission system. 

Democracy isn’t cheap either. 

Based upon current registration levels and the minimum and maximum allowable distributable certificates, $191 – $573 Million of hard-earned taxpayer dollars could be up for grabs by politicians.

How does the initiative purport to pay for this?  With a tax increase of course.  The proposal would raise the minimum corporate income tax from $50 to $150 – swiping the $100 increase for Clean Elections. In addition, it would allow an up to $500 dollar for dollar tax credit for contributions to the commission.  Although these revenue enhancers alone are no where near enough to cover the potential exorbitant costs, proponents are banking on the idea that there will be low voter participation in the program – proving even when you give people free money, they would rather not take it then give it to a politician.

The voucher program isn’t the only part of the measure with a hefty new price tag.  The initiative would also trigger automatic voter registration for citizens receiving a drivers’ license or updating their information with the DMV.  Within the 30-page initiative are tedious administrative requirements for inter-agency coordination to include the Secretary of State, Department of Transportation, Arizona Health Cost Containment and other agencies. 

Because not everyone getting their license or updating their information is eligible to vote, the initiative includes a complicated process for mailing citizens.  It would be incumbent upon the citizen to return the pre-stamped mailer to indicate they do not want to be registered to vote or that they are ineligible to vote.  The citizen has two years to complete missing or fix inaccurate information before their status as a registered voter is cancelled.  Even when their status as a voter is pending, they are able to vote if an election is occurring. 

No where in the initiative is it mentioned how the state will pay for the inevitable technology overhaul required to implement this “automatic voter registration system” or the onerous process for constant pre-stamped mailers. Even more glaring are the gaping opportunities for fraud.  Currently, it is so easy to register to vote in Arizona, the only excuse for not is apathy, laziness or ineligibility.  Placing the burden on someone in any of these categories to ask to be excluded in the voter rolls is a waste of time and money and sure to be a magnet for inaccuracies.

This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad ideas jammed packed into this election omnibus initiative.  Hopefully voters will see through this attempt to co-op the security of the Arizona ballot box and reject ideas that have destroyed the election integrity of states like California and Washington.