When lawmakers fought to pass SB1485 earlier this year, legislation designed to clean up Arizona’s early voter list, the radical left and mainstream media went ballistic. Their attacks against the bill were relentless, ill-informed, and unhinged. Not only did they argue that mail-in voter fraud really isn’t a problem, they declared that any attempt at stopping ballots being mailed to ineligible voters is nothing short of Jim Crow.
It didn’t matter to them the stories that almost everyone has heard or experienced personally. Like the story of a sitting US Congressman who received a mail-in ballot for his mother who had passed away 10 years ago.
Or how in one case, a voter’s cousin moved out of the country in 2011. The county was notified of the move, and no ballot was received in 2012 or 2014. Then in 2016, ballots started arriving once again. Not only had her cousin moved 5 years prior and informed the county, but she had also only ever voted in person and wasn’t on PEVL. And despite additional notifications that her cousin had moved, another ballot was received in 2018 and for this year’s local election.
State Representative Travis Grantham received one in the mail too – for his sister who hasn’t lived here for 15 years and votes in California.
Why would anyone be OK with a mail-in voting system that is this sloppy? Even for those skeptical about the concerns of voter fraud, the sheer waste of taxpayer money associated with sending ballots to ineligible voters is reason enough to merit reform and stop the abuse.
Yet incredibly, the response from election officials has been to shrug their shoulders. For them, it doesn’t matter if a ballot is sent to the wrong address because someone would have to willfully commit a crime and forge the voter’s signature. Did you catch that? Creating opportunities for fraud isn’t a big deal because we have laws on the books against fraud.
Following that logic, everyone should rest at ease and get rid of their home security systems. Haven’t they heard? Breaking and entering is already illegal. No need to have alarms and deterrents because an individual would have to willfully commit a crime to break into their home.
The notion that we don’t need mechanisms in place to deter voter fraud is tantamount to believing that our elections should be conducted on the honor system. No proof of citizenship? No problem, just check a box on our voter registration form. We will believe that you’re a US Citizen. No ID to vote? Don’t worry, we trust that you are who you say you are.
It’s a laughable response to a serious problem. And the fact that voters have witnessed this problem during this off-year all-mail election lines up perfectly with one of the Audit Report findings. Over 23,000 early ballots were mailed to and cast by individuals who had moved prior to the ballots even being sent by the county.
That’s why maintaining clean and current voter rolls is imperative, and it’s why the Audit Report included it repetitively as a recommendation to lawmakers. Ballots would not be mailed to ineligible voters if the voter rolls were clean and up to date.
Additionally, lawmakers need to look at the statutes authorizing these ballot-by-mail elections. Every election must allow for an in-person voting option. An all-mail election is voter suppression, suppressing the votes of citizens who do not trust voting by mail, prefer to vote in person, or perhaps cannot even receive and send mail or have unreliable mail service.
Arizonans don’t want honor system voting. We want an election system that is both accessible and secure – where it is easy to vote and hard to cheat. We want to trust that voter rolls are clean, and that fraud is deterred and punished when it does occur.
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