Senate Republicans advanced a controversial bill that would bar Arizonans from dropping off their early ballots in person at polling places, but GOP holdouts appear likely to stop it from going any further. Republican Sens. Kate Brophy McGee and Heather Carter were silent during the contentious, hour-long debate over Senate Bill 1046 on Wednesday. However, both said afterward that they will vote against the proposal, which will be enough to defeat it, presuming no Democrats break with their caucus to support it. Brophy McGee said she believes there are other Republicans who are also opposed to the bill. Republicans have a 17-13 advantage in the Senate, and can only afford a single defection on a party-line vote.
Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, said she sponsored SB 1046 to reinforce the purpose of Arizona’s vote-by-mail system, to eliminate voter confusion and to reduce the amount of time it takes to count ballots. In November, the count wasn’t finished until 13 days after the election, and Ugenti-Rita said such long delays undermine confidence in Arizona’s election system.
In the November general election, about 228,000 people dropped off their ballots at polling places on Election Day. That figure doesn’t include voters who dropped off early ballots in person prior to Election Day.