AZ State Legislation
After historic turnout and increased mail-in voting in 2020, state lawmakers across the country are introducing restrictive voting legislation. These are obviously a response to the unfounded big lie about a "stolen election. " Needless to say, Arizona is leading the pack with nearly 2 dozen bills introduced this year. Arizona is seeking to: eliminate the "no-excuse absentee voting"; make it easier for officials to remove voters from the permanent absentee list; make it a felony to affirmatively send an absentee ballot to anyone not on the permanent early voter list; restrict who can assist voters in collecting and delivering mail ballots; require all mail ballots to be notarized; would prohibit mail return, requiring all absentee voters to return their ballots in person. I guess the term "absentee ballot" is lost of the GOP!
Several of these bills have advanced in recent weeks. Here is just a taste of what has been going on in Phoenix:
The state Senate approved a bill that would require voters to submit identification paperwork with their mailed-in ballots. Currently they match signatures on ballot envelopes with voters signatures on file. With this bill, those voting by mail would need to provide affidavits with their date of birth, driver's license, state ID or tribal ID card number-- or would need to include their voter registration number and a copy of a utility bill. The same forms of ID are already required for in-person votes in Arizona.
The House committee approved a bill that would turn the state's permanent early voting list (PEVL) into one that drops those who skip consecutive election cycles. PEVL was created with bipartisan support in 2007. Currently the 3.2 million people use it to receive their ballots by mail for each election. 80% of the state's votes in 2020 were cast by mail. Considering the pandemic, most of us didn't have to change a thing and voted safely from the comforts of our homes and mailed them in!
The Senate could also vote soon on a bill that would narrow Arizona's early voting window, starting it five days later and ending it early by requiring ballots to be postmarked by the Thursday before Election Day. Under current law, ballots just have to arrive at the post office on Election Day.
There is even a bill that would allow the state legislature to overturn the election results! It has not advanced yet, but the legislatures are not adjourning for the year until the end of April!
What can you do about it? Well, there are lots of things you can do in addition to hoping and praying these restrictive bills do not pass.
You can get yourself a "Request to Speak" (RTS) account. The Request To Speak program is designed to allow the public to register an opinion on bills listed on agendas and to request to speak on a bill in a committee. It replaces the old slips of paper previously used to sign in and let the committee chairperson know you want to speak to the committee. Under the old paper system, you could only sign in to speak or register an opinion if you were physically at the capitol. After the initial setup, at a kiosk, the RTS program allows you to participate from your home or office. When the committee is in session, the committee members, and the public, will see a list of names of people who have registered an opinion, if you wish to speak or not, who you are representing, and comments you may leave in the comment box. This information is also available if a person searches past committee agendas. Legislators will see your bill position throughout the process. https://apps.azleg.gov/RequestToSpeak/ For more information contact MCDCC.
You can tweet about a bill with your support of opposition, and tag your representatives.
You can write on your legislators' Facebook pages, if they're open (avoid arguing with other posters).
You can write an email to your representative, or the bill's sponsor, with the bill's subject in the header, briefly explaining your support or opposition.
You can think about how you can help the right person get elected or re-elected in your district. Maybe the right person is YOU! Have you considered running for an office?
You can sign up for newsletters from Civic Engagement Beyond Voting (CEBV). They give you the 411 on what is up!
You can get involved with MCDCC and volunteer! We need your help.