Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill Tuesday that will at last purge indefinite registration of people on the state’s permanent early voting list.
The bill, SB 1485, was signed by Ducey shortly after the Arizona State Senate passed it by a margin of 16-14, along party lines. This comes as the Republican-backed Maricopa County Audit continues, with recent attempts by Dominion Voting Systems and Maricopa County officials to hide election machine data.
Language in the new law completely scrubs the word “permanent” every time the early voting list is mentioned. It also requires county officials to send a notice before December 1st of every even year to any registered voter who failed to vote using an early ballot in any recent government election over a 4 year period.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbes opposed the legislative action, claiming that 75% of Arizonans are members of the permanent early voting list, and 80% utilized early voting to cast their ballots in the 2020 election.
Several Democrats said on Tuesday claimed that those who do not vote regularly would have their right to vote threatened.
“Voting is probably our most precious civil right, but it’s not mandatory … (this bill) seeks, as it seems, to punish those who do not regularly vote,” said state Sen. Kristen Engel. “Those are not the folks we need to make it more difficult to vote.”
“This will impact all voters, not just Democrats … This is going to impact independents. This is going to impact Republicans,” said state Sen. Rebecca Rios, the minority leader.
According to the Democrats, the bill will remove at least 126,000 people from the early voting list.
“The number could be as high as 145,000 voters,” Democratic Rep. Raquel Terán said last month. The statement was in reference to how many voters could be removed had the bill applied to the 2020 election.
Ducey put out a video statement in defense of the bill on Twitter.
“This change will ensure active voters who continue to receive a ballot and free up resources for county recorders, to use on priorities like election security and voter education. Let’s be clear, despite all the deceptive and heated rhetoric being used by some partisan activists to lobby against this reform, not a single Arizona voter will lose their right to vote,” he said.
Business leaders in Phoenix wrote a letter at the beginning of April, urging Arizona lawmakers to vote down SB 1485 and any other bills aimed at improving voter integrity.
“These proposals are a concerted effort from those in Arizona — and across the nation — who wish to sow additional doubts about our elections in the minds of voters and feed into the paranoia that has plagued our political discourse over the past several months,” they wrote. “These measures seek to disenfranchise voters. They are ‘solutions’ in search of a problem. They are attempts at voter suppression cloaked as reform – plain and simple.”
Ducey responded, pointing out that if any business found flaws that needed improvement they would promptly enact the proper changes.
“Large corporations have decided to insert themselves into the debate over election law. My advice to them regarding this law is simple: know what you’re talking about before you say anything. These big businesses seem to embrace a static view of elections … and view any change suspiciously. It’s wrong. Dead wrong,” he said.
It goes without saying that the measures Ducey and others have recently put through are simply common sense. Various issues with registered voters who are no longer alive voting have come up around the country, with notable examples in New York, Nevada, and many more. The very vocal opposition from the Democrat Party and large corporations around the country may cause one to question if there are ulterior motives.