It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least. In the wake of severe distrust of the U.S. election system, multiple states throughout the country have been seeking to pass reasonable laws that protect our election process. You would think that’s something everyone could get behind.
But not the liberal media and the left. They would rather tell one lie after another, all to push their “big lie” that these bills are somehow voter suppression. The pressure from the woke left resulted in Major League Baseball moving its All-Star Game from Atlanta after Georgia passed its new voting laws. And even here in Arizona, multiple business leaders have taken a public stand against several election integrity bills.
Perhaps they should’ve checked in with voters first.
A poll conducted late last week by the Free Enterprise Club and Heritage Action shows that bipartisan majorities support sensible reforms that strengthen Arizona’s election laws.
The poll found that more than 80% of Arizona voters support requiring all voters to provide identification in order to vote, with 70% strongly supporting this requirement. Even a large majority of Democrats, 69%, support the idea of requiring all voters to provide ID prior to voting.
But there’s more.
Since there is a difference between asking about general support for election integrity laws and support for specific legislation, we decided to poll two specific bills being considered by the legislature. Both of these bills have been labeled “extreme” by the media and left.
The first was SB 1713, legislation that would require voters that vote by mail to include additional identification when voting. When asked if they would support this new requirement, 63.7% of Arizona voters said they would, including large majorities of Republican and Independent voters.
The other bill we asked voters about was SB 1485, legislation that would remove a person from the early voter list who does not vote by mail in 2 consecutive primary and 2 consecutive general elections from the early vote-by-mail list unless they return a notice within 30 days from the county indicating they would like to remain. Not surprisingly, a majority of voters support this reform as well.
So, shouldn’t lawmakers listen to the people by passing reasonable election reforms? After all, that’s why they were voted into office. Unfortunately, these widely popular bills may be stopped if the corporate media and Democrats get their way.
For example, Sen. Quezada (D-LD29) has already threatened the people of Arizona with losing the 2023 Super Bowl if SB1713 and SB1485 are signed into law. And inflammatory rhetoric such as “voter suppression” and “Jim Crow” is being regurgitated by liberal politicians and activists on a regular basis.
Enough is enough. It’s time for Arizona lawmakers to stand up to the woke bullying and threats and do what’s right. The vast majority of Americans support voter ID laws and election integrity reforms. They want an election system that makes voting both accessible and fraud proof. And they understand that voter ID laws and clean voter rolls help make that happen. That means passing SB 1713 and SB 1485.
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It is now very obvious that the left and liberal media’s commitment to false and hyperbolic rhetoric regarding election bills in Arizona, Georgia, Texas, and elsewhere is not about policy but rather demonizing Republicans. But the jig is up. Characterizing every Republican-led effort to implement reasonable election reforms as “Jim Crow 2.0” (laws that legalized racial segregation) is not only offensive, it is lazy, hypocritical, and getting very tiresome.
For example, SB 1106, sponsored by Senator Mesnard, would require county recorders, upon confirmation that a voter has registered in another county or state, to cancel that voter’s registration. Additionally, the bill would classify the action of aiding someone who is registered in another state in voting in Arizona as a class 5 felony.
Senator Quezada, a Democrat representing legislative district 29, tweeted out that Governor Ducey needs to veto SB1106 along with SB1485 and SB1713 or we might lose our Super Bowl in 2023, similar to how the MLB pulled out of Georgia for what Sen. Quezada refers to as “voter suppression laws.”
And the Pima County Democratic Party tweeted Governor Ducey, calling on him to veto SB1106 with the hashtags #JimCrowAZ and #RacistVoterSuppression.
But is canceling the registration of a voter who has moved to another state really “Jim Crow 2.0”?
Over the weekend we highlighted some provisions in Kentucky’s HB 574 that are being referred to as “expanding voting access” there, but “Jim Crow” here in Arizona. One of those was a requirement nearly identical to what is proposed in SB1106. We’ll wait for Sen. Quezada and the Pima County Democratic Party to condemn the 25 Democrats in the Kentucky House, 8 Democrats in the Kentucky Senate, and the Democrat Governor who all supported it.
A statutory procedure to ensure people aren’t voting in multiple states is common practice around the country and simply commonsense.
For example, let’s look at the democrat stronghold and home state of President Joe Biden—Delaware. There, the State Board of Elections, at any duly called meeting, may consider the cancellation of voter registrations if a member has a “valid reason to believe” the voter is no longer a qualified elector (§ 1702).
They even allow for the cancellation of a voter’s registration if the voter’s spouse, adult child, sibling, or parent sends a written notice that the voter has moved out of state (§ 1707). Don’t like the way your parent votes? No worries. Just send a letter to their county and get their registration canceled.
Colorado, a bastion of liberalism, also criminalizes voting for non-residents (§ 228)with a class 6 felony. Colorado also has a similar provision as SB1106 (§ 604) outlining the process (§ 605) for canceling the registration of electors registered in multiple jurisdictions. Oregon too, allows the cancellation of elector registrations, “if the county clerk receives written evidence that the elector has registered to vote in another county in this state or in another state” (§ 555.)
And since former President Obama took to twitter in support of the Georgia boycott, we’ll turn our eyes to a state he represented in the U.S. Senate—Illinois. There, a voter’s registration is canceled for simply not voting in the last four years and failing to respond to a notice within 30 days (§ 5-24). County clerks are also required to verify voter registrations every 2 years and cancel the registrations of any voter no longer qualified (§ 5-25).
SB1106 is not “Jim Crow” or “voter suppression.” States around the country, including the left’s beloved blue strongholds, have reasonable measures in place to ensure they maintain a clean and current voter registration database. If the left really believes this policy is “voter suppression” then their position must simply be this: voter suppression for me, but not for thee.
This past week in Kentucky, HB 574 was signed into law. Despite the Kentucky legislature consisting of Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate, the account for Democratic Governors tweeted, “While Republicans like @BrianKempGA are implementing Jim Crow 2.0, yet another Democratic governor just expanded voting rights…”
And the corporate media picked up this talking point with headlines such as “Kentucky Gov. Beshear signs into law bipartisan elections bill expanding voting access” from CNN, “Why Kentucky Just Became the Only Red State to Expand Voting Rights” from the New York Times, and “Democratic Governor in deep-red Kentucky signs bill to expand voting, bucking national trend” from the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, here in Arizona the headlines read “Arizona Republican lawmakers join GOP efforts to target voting, with nearly two dozen restrictive voting measures” under a bold “Voting Rights Under Attack” from CNN, “The next Georgia: Texas and Arizona emerge as voting rights battlegrounds” from the Guardian, and “23 voter suppression bills in Arizona legislature” from KOLD.
Let’s take a look at what the left and liberal media consider “Jim Crow 2.0” in Arizona compared to what they applaud as “expanding voting access” in Kentucky.
In Arizona, early voting begins 27 days before an election.
Under the Kentucky bill, early voting is limited to a mere 3 days – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during normal business hours (Section 11).
In 2016, HB2023, which prohibited ballot harvesting, was signed into Arizona law. The Democrat party sued the state over it, claiming it has a disparate impact on minority voters. The case is currently in the Supreme Court.
Under the Kentucky bill, ballot harvesting is prohibited (Section 6).
Vote By Mail/SB1485
In Arizona, no excuse is required to vote by mail and voters can register to automatically receive a ballot for every single election, without having to reapply. SB1485 would remove a voter from this list only after the voter failed to vote in four consecutive elections and fails to respond to a notice. The voter would still be registered, they would just no longer receive a ballot in the mail automatically.
Under the Kentucky bill, an excuse is required to vote absentee and voters must apply within a short window of no earlier than 45 days before an election and no later than 14 days before an election (Section 11).
In Arizona, SB1003 clarifies that if a ballot does not have a signature, the county must attempt to contact the voter and if a signature is not obtained by 7PM on election day, it is rejected.
Under the Kentucky bill, an absentee ballot must immediately be rejected if it has no signature (Section 14).
In Arizona, SB1106 would require a county recorder to cancel a voter’s registration upon confirmation the voter has registered in another county or state.
Under the Kentucky bill, a voter’s registration must immediately be canceled upon notification the voter has registered in another county or state (Section 5).
In Arizona, voters on the early voter list automatically receive a ballot by mail for every election and do not have to reapply every time. SB1713 requires voters to write their date of birth and either their Arizona driver’s license or voter registration number on their ballot affidavit.
Under the Kentucky bill, a photo ID is required for voting in person and must be provided in the application for an absentee ballot – an application that must be made before every election (Section 41).
Catching the theme? All of these provisions leave Kentucky with a more restrictive election system than Arizona. If proposals in the Arizona Legislature are “Jim Crow 2.0” in the eyes of the democrats and media, then Kentucky would surely be “Jim Crow on steroids.”
If we have learned anything from Kentucky’s passage of HB574, it is that according to the leftist media, election integrity reforms are racist and disenfranchisement when Republicans pass them, but an “expansion of voter access” when a Democrat Governor signs on.
In reality, all of the bills Arizona is considering leave intact the many accessible options available to voters with modest reforms to ensure the integrity of each. They ensure it is simple to register, easy to vote, and hard to cheat – priorities Kentucky’s new law also ensure.
The left has been stoking public outcry over election integrity reforms around the country, prompting Joe Biden to refer to Georgia’s recent election bill “Jim Crow on steroids.” The misguided outrage has been focused on Arizona too, and democrats have been referring to many of the bills here as a reaction to what they call the “Big Lie” referring to the 2020 election. In reality, the only “Big Lie” is the narrative from the media and left that these measures are voter suppression bills.
One bill they are targeting is SB 1485, which was introduced by Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita and has passed the Senate on party lines, the House Government & Elections Committee, and is waiting for a Floor vote in the House. Calling this a reaction to 2020 is easily disproven evidenced by the fact that Senator Ugenti-Rita introduced the same exact bill in 2019.
The bill simply requires county recorders to send a notice to a voter on the permanent early voter list who has not cast their mail-in ballot in four consecutive elections. If the voter fails to respond to the notice within 30 days, the voter would be removed from the early voter list.
It is important to note that unlike many other states, Arizonans can vote early in person for 27 days and should someone be removed from the early voter list, they can immediately re-register or simply choose to vote in person. No one is being disenfranchised.
But since the media and left have taken such a vocal stance against these bills, let’s compare SB 1485 to the rest of the country. Unlike Arizona, most states do not allow automatic early voting by mail and even those that do are far more restrictive than what SB 1485 proposes.
In Connecticut for example, the only people who can automatically vote by mail are those who are permanently physically disabled. And even then, it should not be called “permanent” because a voter is removed for failing to respond to an annual notice within 30 days. (§ 9-140e). Compare that with SB 1485, where a notice is sent only after failing to vote in four consecutive elections. Which is more reasonable?
In California, where any registered voter may sign up to automatically receive a ballot by mail similar to Arizona’s permanent early voter list, a voter is automatically removed after failing to vote in four consecutive elections (§ 3206). So, in reality, SB1485 doesn’t even go as far as California, a state in which democrats have held a trifecta since 2011.
And what about in D.C, where they allow voters to “permanently” request an absentee ballot but remove any voter who misses two consecutive elections (DCMR 3, § 720.4)? Where is the public outcry over D.C’s voter “suppression”?
The truth is that these reforms do not even go as far as laws that currently exist around the country, including in democrat strongholds. In Arizona, it is far easier to automatically vote by mail than it is in most states, but the lies being peddled by the media and woke left are duping corporations like Delta, Coca-Cola, and the MLB in Georgia, and now many here in Arizona too.
Democrats in D.C are targeting the elimination of state voter ID laws with the passage of H.R 1, despite Arizona and 35 other states currently requiring it. More importantly, voters support it. In a recent poll, 75% of likely voters said they support requiring photo ID before voting. By party affiliation, 89% of Republicans, 77% of unaffiliated voters, and even 60% of likely Democrat voters support this requirement.
Yet in Arizona, ID requirements extend only to in-person voting, where voters are expected to show either a photo ID like their driver’s license, or a document that includes their full name and current address such as a utility bill. For early, mail-in ballots? Simply a signature.
In the professional and criminal investigation world, analysts who verify the authorship of handwriting have degrees in forensic science and spend two years under the training of experienced analysts. But for elections, election staff is tasked with verifying signatures and do not require these professional credentials. At a volume of millions of ballots, election staff are gazing at thousands of ballots each, potentially spending mere seconds comparing what they see on the ballot and what is on their computer screen.
Additionally, people’s handwriting changes over time. They might get an injury, develop a disability, or their style simply changes over time. Experts in crime labs can spend hours poring over documents to compare several samples, but election staff must quickly make a subjective judgment of the match based on one sample. This is not a sufficient measure for something as important as elections, especially considering Arizona expects voters to provide ID if they vote in person.
Sponsored by Senator Mesnard, SB1713 brings our mail-in ballot system up to par with in-person voting by requiring voters to simply write their date of birth and either their driver’s license number or voter registration number in addition to their signature. This provides an objective measure to ensure the identity of voters and removes some of the subjectivity, with no burden to voters.
The left and media claim that asking voters to provide this information in addition to their signature is “voter suppression” and “racist.” Americans aren’t buying it—not even their own electorate.
In the corporate world, businesses focus on the “Fraud Triangle” in attempting to mitigate fraud within their organization. The triangle consists of three main ingredients required for fraud to occur: opportunity, incentive, and rationalization. The only controllable factor in this triangle is opportunity, or the ease at which someone can commit fraud.
Applied to elections, and specifically to mail-in ballots, signatures being the only identifying feature poses great opportunity to nefarious actors. Regardless of how frequently this opportunity is seized, or if it is at all, by simply bringing mailed ballots to the same standard as in-person voting we can greatly reduce this opportunity without limiting access to voting.
SB1713 does exactly this. It is a reasonable and meaningful election integrity reform based on a proven practice—voter ID—that is overwhelmingly supported by voters. This is a must pass reform that the Legislature and Governor ought to prioritize to increase the integrity of our elections.
More than 100,000 Arizona voters on the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) have not voted by early ballot in the past four years.
Think about that for a moment. These are people who asked to be on the PEVL but are choosing not to use the system. Not only does this waste taxpayers like you money by sending out unwanted ballots, but it compromises the integrity of our elections.
If someone isn’t using the system, they shouldn’t continue to receive an early ballot by mail. Thankfully, the Arizona Senate addressed the PEVL on Tuesday by passing SB1485, a bill sponsored by Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-LD23). And predictably, as the bill heads to the Arizona House, Democrats are losing their minds. While most of them are mischaracterizing this bill as “voter suppression,” others have called it a “full-on assault on Democracy,” and Representative Athena Salman (D-LD26) couldn’t help but label it as “racist.”
But while Arizona Democrats proceeded to hurl unhinged attacks and insults at proponents of the legislation, it’s important to look at what this bill actually does. And it’s not that complicated.
SB1485 simply changes the name of the list from the PEVL to the Early Voting List (EVL). That means voters can continue to vote early and by mail as long as they are on the list. But if an individual doesn’t vote by early ballot in both the primary election and the general election for two consecutive cycles, he or she will receive a notice from their county recorder. Failure to respond to the notice means the voter will be removed from the list.
As you can see, this isn’t some sinister conspiracy like Democrats are making it out to be.
There’s nothing in the bill that prevents a voter from being placed back on the list. And it certainly has no impact on someone’s voter registration status.
However, Democrats would rather cry wolf about “voter suppression” and “racism” instead of recognizing that this is a bill that should be embraced by all parties. Is it because they know they stand to benefit from outdated voter rolls or a deeply flawed mail-in voting system?
More than likely, that’s the case.
The fact is that distrust in this past November’s election remains high. And mail-in voting is more prone to mistake, mishap, and mischief. But that doesn’t mean it should be eliminated. Mail-in voting is popular in Arizona, and SB1485 allows for it to continue. But additional security measures are necessary to protect this method of voting.
Once fraud is in the election system, it is extremely difficult to prove and root out. Cleaning up voter rolls by ensuring the EVL is kept up to date by removing deceased persons, citizens who have moved to another state, duplicate voter files, and anyone who isn’t actively using the system is critically important.
While more steps are needed to improve election integrity through the state, SB1485 is a step in the right direction. Now, it’s up to the House to pass this crucial piece of legislation.