The Arizona Republican Party sent out an email Wednesday — and a similar tweet last week — that is raising some eyebrows about both the method and the timing. The blast email was titled, in screaming all-caps, “IMPORTANT INFO MISSING” and tells the reader that their “voter profile status has been marked incomplete.” It then directs the reader to fill out a form “in the next 24 hours to remain active in our system.” The email is clearly marked with the state GOP logo and is signed by the Arizona Republican Party. It was sent to the party’s general subscriber list. Communications Director Torunn Sinclair declined to say how many people received it.
Articles about voting issues in Arizona.
Arizona: After battling politicians, panel that draws voting boundaries closes | The Arizona Republic
For more than six years, the panel charged with drawing Arizona’s political boundaries was the target of criticism, protests and repeated lawsuits. It even suffered a break-in at its Capitol Mall office. But despite the headwinds, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission triumphed in the key legal and policy battles it faced. After closing its doors for good late last month, it leaves behind a legacy that ensures it will continue as Arizona’s political mapmaker, even as skeptics doubt the value of letting an independent panel, rather than lawmakers, draw political boundaries. That skepticism came with a tab paid by taxpayers: $7.3 million in legal and travel costs as the commission defended itself in five legal battles, plus nearly $400,000 to cover legal costs incurred by the Legislature, the governor and the attorney general as they went to court to question the commission’s work.
Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan is denying a sweeping request by a federal voter commission for registration information of all voters in Arizona. President Donald Trump created the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May after he claimed without evidence that 2 million to 3 million people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election. Last week, the commission sent letters to secretaries of state of all 50 states requesting all “publicly available” information of voters including names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliation, and last four digits of Social Security numbers. … Reagan said after she received the request letter on Monday she conferred with her attorneys and decided that releasing any information to the commission would not be “in the best interests of the state.”
Arizona: State settles lawsuit making voter-registration data more affordable | The Arizona Republic
Arizona has settled a lawsuit with a national voting-rights group, resulting in an agreement that allows the public to access voter information at a much lower cost. The settlement between Project Vote and the state was finalized late last week. Electronic access to the voter rolls will be available to the public at a cost of a few hundred dollars rather than thousands. For example, the price of obtaining the state’s database of about 3.6 million voters will drop from about $30,000 to around $500. Project Vote, a national nonpartisan voting-rights advocacy organization, sued the state, Maricopa County and Pima County to challenge the cost of acquiring voter-registration data after receiving bills for tens of thousands of dollars. Political parties get the same information for free, as is required by state law.
Arizona Rep. Bob Thorpe is getting a jump start on next year’s legislative session. His summer project? Restricting how college students vote. The Flagstaff Republican announced plans to introduce legislation next year to “address several problems with voting in Arizona’s college communities while ensuring that voting rights are preserved for all Arizona voters.” He alleges college students “unfairly influence” local elections by registering to vote using their college address, where they reside for “only six months out of the year.” That, he said, dilutes the votes of full-time residents. (And surely it has no connection to the fact that he and fellow Republicans narrowly held their seats in the district that includes Northern Arizona University.)
Arizona: Lawmaker seeks to bar college students from voting at schools they attend | Arizona Daily Star
Calling the practice unethical, a Flagstaff Republican lawmaker wants to bar college students from voting where they may live most of the year. The proposal by state Rep. Bob Thorpe would put a provision that students who want to vote would be able to do so only by signing up to get an early ballot from the voting precinct where they were living before they went to college, presumably the address of their parents. They would not be able to use their college address. And that would apply not only to those who live in a campus dormitory but even those who have off-campus residences. … A similar proposal by Thorpe introduced earlier this year died when state Rep. Doug Coleman, R-Apache Junction, refused to give it a hearing in the House Government Committee which he chairs.
Arizona: Counties threaten funding cutoff to force meeting with Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s office | The Arizona Republic
It’s Reagan vs. Recorders, again. This time, the dispute among Secretary of State Michele Reagan and the 15 county elections officials in Arizona is over who’s to blame for letting lapse a committee that makes sure the voter-registration database keeps working. But it’s really about simmering tensions over the upcoming creation of a new statewide voter-registration system — and who will be in charge. “I think the counties got tired of being pushed around,” said F. Ann Rodriguez, the Pima County recorder.
A Pima County Superior Court judge has ruled that ballot images produced by local voting equipment are “exempt from disclosure by Arizona election law.” In August 2016, county resident Richard Hernandez filed a complaint asking that digital ballot images from the upcoming primary election be preserved. It was then the county election department’s policy to delete those images, which are used to tally votes by the new system. A judge soon granted a temporary injunction mandating that the county cease deleting the images. In his May 24 ruling, Judge Richard Gordon made that injunction permanent, but also — citing the Arizona Constitution’s requirement of “secrecy in voting” and recent legislation — ruled that both ballots and images of them are exempt “from public disclosure.”
Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan said Wednesday her office is looking to update the state’s voter registration systems, but it has little to do with last year’s hack. “We’re updating, yes, and it’s not actually due to anything that happened last year,” she said. “It’s something that, by law, we’re required to go out to bid for this in 2017.” Arizona was one of the first states to introduce online voter registration and, 15 years later, it’s time to upgrade from the VRAZ-II, an aging platform that reached its peak use in the late 1990s. Reagan has issued a request for proposal for the development of the Access Voter Information Database. Bids should begin coming in during the next few weeks.
The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission has won another legal battle over the political boundaries it drew earlier this decade. It could be the final legal skirmish in the current commission’s seven-year existence. On Thursday, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge rejected challenges from a coalition of Republican voters that the commission used the wrong process in drawing boundaries for Arizona’s nine congressional districts. Superior Court Judge Roger Brodman also rejected claims that the five-member commission violated the state’s Open Meetings Law as it went about its work.