A bill that will make it all but impossible for voter-outreach groups to boost turnout by collecting early ballots from voters was advanced by an Arizona House panel dominated by Republicans on Wednesday. The proposal makes it a felony for anyone but a family member, caregiver or candidate to collect more than two early ballots from voters during a two-year election cycle. Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan is backing the last-minute amendment to Senate Bill 1339. The proposal failed in the House elections committee last week, but it was revived and added to an unrelated bill. The appropriations committee approved the amended bill on a 9-5 party-line vote.
The bill revives and toughens the penalty for picking up early ballots that was a key part of a major 2013 election law. That overhaul angered Democrats, some conservative Republicans and third-party candidates. After a successful signature-gathering effort to block the 2013 law pending a statewide election, the Legislature repealed House Bill 2305.
Several other parts of that 2013 bill are making their way through the Legislation in separate bills.
Democratic voter-outreach groups have successfully increased voter turnout by going door to door and collecting early ballots. Republicans also do early ballot collections, but on a much smaller level.