Voting and civil rights groups cheered a decision by the Supreme Court Monday that struck down an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship for voting. The court’s 7-2 ruling said Arizona’s voter-approved Proposition 200, which required proof of citizenship for voter registration, was trumped by the federal “motor voter” law that only requires a potential voter to swear to their citizenship. Justice Samuel Alito, in one of two dissenting opinions, said the court’s ruling “seriously undermines” the state’s interest in preserving the integrity of elections. And Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said late Monday that the state is not about to give up the fight, saying the state would pursue appeals with the Election Assistance Commission and the courts. But Proposition 200 opponents think it is too late for the state, now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the case.
Articles about voting issues in Arizona.
Libertarians and Green Party candidates would be virtually cut off from running for office under new nominating-petition requirements in a bill now on Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk. Meanwhile, the legislation eases the number of signatures needed for Republican and Democratic candidates. On Tuesday, critics of the law said it’s a valentine for Republican candidates, who see third-party candidates, particularly Libertarians, as spoilers in races. The provision was tacked onto a wide-ranging election bill, House Bill 2305, one week before the Legislature adjourned. It passed on largely partyline votes in the closing hours of the session with the support of most Republicans and solid opposition from Democrats. On Tuesday, the minor-party officials said the bill, if signed, would cement the two parties’ hold on Arizona elections.
The Arizona Senate revived an election omnibus bill Thursday that could limit early voting participation after Republican leaders pressured their caucus to pass the measure in the final hours of the 2013 legislative session. The legislation backed by state and local election officials seeks to trim the state’s permanent early voting list and limit who may return mail ballots for voters. Opponents portrayed the bill as a thinly-veiled effort to curb Democratic and Hispanic voter turnout. The 16-13 vote came after the Senate initially voted against the bill late Thursday. Republican Sen. Steve Pierce changed his vote and helped the measure pass when it was brought back for reconsideration. The House voted 33-26 earlier on Thursday to advance House Bill 2305. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer would not say on Thursday whether she would sign the measure into law.
Maricopa County officials say that about 20,000 registered voters would be removed from the permanent early voting list under proposed legislation aimed at reducing the number of provisional ballots. No particular demographic group would be hit harder than another, according to an analysis by the Maricopa County Elections Department. Sen. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, developed SB 1261 with input from county election officials. As approved by the Senate, it would remove people from permanent early voting lists if they fail to vote in four consecutive federal elections and fail to respond to notice from the county elections office. “No other other state that I found who has a permanent early voting list has no ability to clean up their list,” Reagan said.
A senate panel voted Wednesday to throw some additional hurdles in the path of Arizonans who want to write their own laws.
Existing law already has a set of requirements for putting a measure on the ballot to propose a new statute or constitutional amendment. These include for who can circulate petitions, what has to be on each page and how many names can be on each sheet. SB 1493 adds some new ones, including a mandate to organize petition sheets by county of residence of signers, by the circulator on that signature sheet, and by the name of the person who notarized each. But the real change is that the legislation says that both election officials and courts, in reviewing the validity of petitions, must void those that are not in “strict compliance” with all legal requirements. That change is significant.
Arizona Senate leaders resurrected a handful of election bills Tuesday that had been stalled amid opposition from Democratic lawmakers and civil rights groups worried about voter disenfranchisement. Senate President Andy Biggs unveiled the election omnibus bill that mirrors a handful of election bills proposed earlier in the legislative session. The bills had previously failed to gain traction in the GOP-led Legislature. The omnibus bill would allow county election officials to remove voters from the permanent early voting list if they didn’t vote by mail in the two most recent general elections. Voters could stay on the list if they returned a completed notice within 30 days confirming their intent to vote by mail in the future. Local elected officials proposed the change because too many voters were showing up at local precinct places to vote after receiving mail ballots, creating concerns about voter fraud.
Arizona: Maricopa analysis: Early-voting plan would ax 20K voters from permanent absentee list | KTAR.com
Maricopa County officials said that about 20,000 registered voters would be removed from the permanent early-voting list under proposed legislation aimed at reducing the number of provisional ballots. No particular demographic group would be hit harder than another, according to an analysis by the Maricopa County Elections Department. Sen. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, developed SB 1261 with input from county election officials. As approved by the Senate, it would remove people from permanent early- voting lists if they fail to vote in four consecutive federal elections and fail to respond to notice from the county elections office. ”No other other state that I found who has a permanent early voting list has no ability to clean up their list,” Reagan said.
In the run-up to last year’s general election, several political action groups worked to get residents of low-income and high-minority neighborhoods on Maricopa County’s permanent early voting list. As Nov. 6 approached, those groups had thousands of volunteers knocking on doors to encourage people to mail back those ballots and, if voters couldn’t for any reason, offering to deliver ballots to the county. “We’re in this to really be able to give a community a voice,” said Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona, a Latino rights group that mobilized one of the larger ballot-collection efforts. “Voting is the very first step to doing that.”
Arizona: Fixes for consolidated elections stall, leaving cities in dark about when to hold elections | Arizona Capitol Times
When voters in Tucson and Phoenix went to the polls to elect their mayors in 2011, voters elected them for four years. But a bill passed last year by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer may extend the mayors’ time in office by a year. Or it may shorten their terms by a year. Nobody is sure which one it will be. After seeing the savings and the boost in voter turnout Scottsdale achieved from moving its election dates to the fall of even-numbered years to match the state election cycle, Rep. Michelle Ugenti of Scottsdale sponsored a bill to move all city elections to coincide with the state schedule.
Arizona county recorders like Yuma’s Robyn Stallworth Pouquette want to be able to keep their early voter lists as clean and accurate as possible, reducing the use of time-chewing provisional ballots that delayed official statewide results of the 2012 general election by days. A bill working its way through the Arizona Legislature aims to do that. SB1261 gives the keepers of Arizona’s voter rolls the ability to remove voters from the permanent early voting list, or PEVL, if they haven’t used their early ballot in four years and don’t respond to a follow-up postcard query. Right now, the only way off the list is for a voter to make a request in writing.