A bill to keep voters from casting ballots using the names of dead people received preliminary approval Monday in the Arizona Senate even though there was no evidence that type of fraud was occurring in the state. Arizona conservatives are pushing the legislation in the wake of legislative victories that include limiting the collection of early ballots and erecting more hurdles to get initiatives on the ballot. Republicans say the measures help protect against voter fraud while Democrats argue the moves limit voter participation.
Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, sponsored the bill that would expand efforts of the secretary of state to match voter registration with death records to check for instances of identity theft.
The goal is to eliminate voter fraud that could occur when, for example, a mail-in ballot is sent to the home of someone who recently died.
The state, however, has not prosecuted a single case of such fraud in at least five years, said Matt Roberts, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.