Arizonans could face a use-it-or-lose situation with the Permanent Early Voting List under a bill approved by a Senate committee on Thursday. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1188 on a 4-3 party-line vote, with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats opposing it. Voters who want to automatically receive an early ballot in the mail for every election can sign up for the Permanent Early Voting List. Under SB 1188, anyone who doesn’t vote in either the primary or general elections for two consecutive election cycles would be removed from the list, though they would still be registered to vote. At least that’s what the sponsor’s intent was. The bill may accidentally be much stricter than intended.Full Article: Bill would purge inactive voters from permanent early ballot list • Arizona Mirror.
Articles about voting issues in Arizona.
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.Full Article: Bill banning early ballot drop-offs appears doomed • Arizona Mirror.
Nearly a quarter million Arizonans who dropped off their early ballots at polling places on Election Day in November would lose that ability in future years under a bill that passed its first legislative hurdle in a Senate committee on Thursday. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed three election-related bills sponsored by Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale. One of those bills, Senate Bill 1046, would require voters who receive early ballots in the mail to return them only by mail, rather than bringing them to polling places before or on Election Day. People who don’t mail in their ballots would be able to vote at a polling place, but would have to wait in line and go through the same process as other in-person voters. The committee passed SB1046 on a 4-3 party-line vote, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats in opposition.Full Article: Senate committee votes to ban voters from dropping off early ballots • Arizona Mirror.
Arizona: 9th Circuit Court to reconsider ruling on Arizona’s ‘ballot harvesting’ ban | Arizona Daily Star
A federal appeals court will give Democrats a new chance to argue that an Arizona law banning “ballot harvesting” is illegal. In a brief order, the majority of the judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said they want to review and reconsider a 2-1 ruling by one of their panels last year that upheld the 2016 law, which bars Arizonans from collecting and delivering the ballots of others. In that ruling, the majority brushed aside complaints from the state and federal Democratic parties that the Republican-controlled Legislature had no evidence of fraud from the practice. Nor were they persuaded by arguments that the restriction has a harsher effect on the voting rights of minorities than on Arizona residents in general.Full Article: 9th Circuit Court to reconsider ruling on Arizona's 'ballot harvesting' ban | Local news | tucson.com.
What hope there might be for democracy in America is ill-served by a United States Senate that is, by design and in practice, strikingly unrepresentative. Voters got a reminder of that in November. They cast 52,539,754 ballots for Democratic Senate candidates versus just 34,787,898 for Republican contenders, yet Mitch McConnell’s GOP caucus actually expanded its majority. But that’s not the worst of it. The Senate is so antidemocratic that candidates who are rejected by the voters can still end up taking seats in the chamber. Case in point: Martha McSally. McSally was the Republican nominee for an Arizona US Senate seat this year, and she got beat. The voters chose Democrat Kyrsten Sinema by 55,900 votes. Yet, come January, McSally and Sinema will both be senators. That’s because, on Tuesday, Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, appointed McSally to fill the state’s other Senate seat. She’ll replace another unelected Republican senator, Jon Kyl, whom Ducey appointed to serve a portion of the Senate term to which the late John McCain was actually elected in 2016.Full Article: Republican Martha McSally Did Not Win Her Election. Why Will She Be a Senator Next Year? | The Nation.
Arizona: Judge rules overhaul of campaign finance laws against Arizona Constitution | Arizona Republic
A judge has ruled that Arizona lawmakers violated the state Constitution on multiple fronts when they passed a sweeping overhaul of campaign-finance laws in 2016. Those changes illegally limit the power of the voter-approved Citizens Clean Elections Commission to police campaign-finance laws and illegally create loopholes for spending limits, the ruling states. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Palmer ruled that the changes are unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. The ruling is the latest twist in a fight over Senate Bill 1516, a major rewrite of campaign- finance laws that the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey pushed in 2016.Full Article: Judge rules overhaul of campaign finance laws against Arizona Constitution.
Few people do things perfectly on the first try. There’s a learning curve, whether it’s a gymnast tumbling across an arena floor, a professional baseball player throwing his first pitch … or managing a data system essential to Mohave County’s 2018 General Election. That last example has been a cause for concern with Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson after an almost 36-hour delay in obtaining voter registration data after this year’s election. The delay was caused by e-poll staff unfamiliar with the county’s electronic polling software. Now Johnson has requested reimbursement from e-polling provider Robis Inc. for the county’s lost time. Mohave County began its contract in 2016 with Robis Inc, with the company acting as Mohave County’s vendor for electronic poll books, using a software known as Ask Ed. According to Johnson, data collection from Mohave County’s e-poll book software was seamless in 2016. The previous project manager left Robis in 2018, however, and a new project manager was assigned to Mohave County.Full Article: Sup. Johnson expresses concerns over ballot software | Kingman Daily Miner | Kingman, AZ.
Arizona: A Special Election To Replace Senator McCain Must Be Held In 6 Months, Claims New Lawsuit | Arizona Politics
The constitutionality of Arizona’s law giving Governor Doug Ducey the right to control the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the passing of John McCain has been challenged in federal court. A group of plaintiffs led by William Tedards filed the action against Ducey and Senator Jon Kyl yesterday and asks that the Governor be required to call for a special election within six months. Their contention is that the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (text below) which requires that U.S. Senators be elected invalidates the Arizona law (also below) that the special election for a Senate vacancy can only be held at a biennial general election. McCain passed away in August, too late for Governor Ducey to add a primary and general election to be held by November 6, 2018. Instead, he appointed former Kyl to the seat, even as Kyl indicated that he might very well only stay in the position through the end of 2018. That would permit the Governor to make a new appointment for another two years, for a total of 28 months.Full Article: Arizona's Politics: AZ LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL? A Special Election To Replace Senator McCain Must Be Held In 6 Months, Claims New Lawsuit (BREAKING, READ).
Nearly 7,000 voters would have had their early ballots rejected over problems with their signatures if Maricopa County hadn’t initiated a new policy of attempting to “cure” those ballots after Election Day. According to data provided to the Arizona Mirror by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, 7,240 early ballots had signatures on their envelopes that required further review after Election Day. The majority of those ballots were dropped off at polling places on Election Day. County election officials began contacting voters who dropped off early ballots on Election Day and whose signatures needed further review on Nov. 8, two days after the election. The outreach effort allowed the county to verify the signatures on 6,933 of the ballots, which was nearly 96 percent of the ballots that election officials reviewed for potentially mismatched signatures.Full Article: Maricopa County saved nearly 7,000 ballots through curing policy • Arizona Mirror.
Arizona: Navajo Nation drops claim that would delay certification of Arizona election results | Arizona Daily Star
The Navajo Nation has dropped a legal claim that could have delayed formal certification of the general election results. But the tribe still contends early voting procedures used in three Arizona counties violate the rights of tribal residents. And an attorney for the tribe, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, said Monday that unless there is a deal, they will be back in court. At a brief hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Dominic Lanza agreed to essentially put the legal dispute on the back burner. In a blistering statement from the bench, however, the judge blasted the tribe’s attorneys for waiting until this past Tuesday to file suit for a temporary restraining order on a narrow issue that would have delayed announcing a final vote tally for all races statewide.Full Article: Navajo Nation drops claim that would delay certification of Arizona election results | Local news | tucson.com.
The Navajo Nation is seeking a court order to allow tribal members to fix problems with signatures on early ballots in Arizona’s general election — a request that could delay the state from certifying ballots next month. Voters statewide were given more time to address mismatched signatures after Republicans alleged in a lawsuit that Maricopa and Pima counties contacted voters illegally after Election Day about signatures on ballot envelopes that didn’t match those on the voter file. A lawsuit filed this week by the largest American Indian reservation makes a broader argument to count ballots that Navajos properly filled out but didn’t sign. It alleges Navajos have fewer opportunities to participate in early voting and not enough translators to tell tribal members with limited or no English proficiency how to complete early ballots so they aren’t thrown out. The tribe said more than 100 votes cast by Navajos were disqualified.Full Article: Navajos seek court order to fix early ballots | News | mohavedailynews.com.
How many Arizonans were unable to vote in the general election because they were purged from the rolls over out-of-date addresses that stemmed from violations of federal voting laws? State elections officials told The Arizona Republic this week that they had no way of knowing because there is no process to track voters affected by the routine removals. The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office knew before Tuesday’s election that the registrations of about 390,000 Arizonans since November 2016 were not automatically updated when they changed the address on their driver’s licenses — a requirement under the National Voting Registration Act of 1993, unless a voter opts out of such updates. Some of those voters might, however, have cast provisional ballots, which can be counted if elections officials determine after the fact that they are legitimate. As of Friday, an estimated 50,000 provisional ballots have been cast across Arizona with an additional 11,000 out-of-precinct ballots from Maricopa County voting centers. This estimate does not include Mojave and Gila counties, which haven’t released data yet.Full Article: How many Arizonans couldn't vote because they were purged?.
President Donald Trump and Republicans in Arizona and nationally are stoking claims of deliberate election fraud in the state’s U.S. Senate race as Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema await results of a vote that could swing in either’s favor. The tight race has left Republicans in jeopardy of losing a Senate seat in the state for the first time in 30 years. Though McSally held a lead in early-vote totals, the tally flipped in Sinema’s favor Thursday night. Updated results Friday evening kept Sinema with a 20,000-plus advantage, but an estimated 360,000 ballots remain to be counted. No group has brought forward allegations of specific criminal activity, although one Republican lawsuit addressed an equity issue over how early-ballot signatures are verified. … Amy Chan, former state elections director under Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett, tweeted, “Unfounded allegations of voter fraud are totally irresponsible and should rightly be condemned because they shake voter confidence & can affect future participation. Voter fraud in my experience is almost nonexistent.”Full Article: McSally-Sinema election: Republicans claim Arizona vote fraud.
As the Arizona Senate vote count starts to tip into Democratic terrain, a judge Friday will hear a lawsuit by the GOP seeking to limit the tally — or expand it in the state’s conservative-leaning rural areas. Four local Republican parties filed a lawsuit Wednesday night challenging the state’s two biggest counties for allowing voters to help resolve problems with their mail-in ballot signatures after Election Day. If the signature on the voter registration doesn’t match that on the sealed envelope, both Maricopa and Pima County allow voters to help them fix, or “cure” it, up to five days after Election Day. Many other counties only allow voters to cure until polls close on Election Day.Full Article: Court hearing set in Arizona Senate race vote count dispute.
The Arizona Republican Party has sent a letter to all county recorders alleging that some of them misused emergency early voting. It is unclear how many counties set-up emergency voting locations. At least five “emergency” voting centers were opened in Maricopa County for Saturday, Sunday and Monday voting. Both in person and turning in early ballots. In their letter, the GOP wrote that, “The Legislature has directed in no uncertain terms that in-person early voting must terminate ‘no later than 5 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election.” It goes on to say that an “emergency” consists of “any unforeseen circumstances that would prevent the elector from voting at the polls…In other words mere inconvenience is not permissible.”Full Article: Arizona Republican Party wants votes at emergency vote centers to be re-verified - ABC15 Arizona.
Arizona: Why new technology at polling sites could be a blessing or a curse this Election Day | Arizona Republic
Experts warn new technology intended to make voting on Election Day faster and easier also comes with new risks that could contribute to the problems it was intended to solve. And some of those experts say the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office hasn’t demonstrated it’s prepared for the myriad things that can go wrong. “Every other jurisdiction that I know of, except for Maricopa it sounds like, has a backup plan … to make sure you’re not just turning voters away or making them stand in line until you figure out what the technical problem is,” said Joe Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “It sounds like (the recorder’s office) isn’t doing the right kind of contingency planning.” The recorder’s office has come under scrutiny since August’s primary election when 62 voting centers failed to open on time because the machines used to check in voters at the polling sites, known as electronic “SiteBooks,” hadn’t been set up.Full Article: How technology could fail Election Day and what's being done to plan.
Maricopa County residents have been purged from the voter rolls nearly 1.1 million times since the 2008 election. Nearly half, or 491,944, of the removals happened, as required by state statute, after the Maricopa County Elections Department mails a notice — an early ballot or a voter guide — to a voter and it is returned undelivered by the U.S. Postal Service. If the initial and subsequent notices are undelivered, the individual is designated “inactive.” Inactive voters who do not update their registrations or vote in the following two general elections are removed from the rolls. It’s a policy intended to ensure the rolls include only people who are eligible to vote, and, supporters say, it helps prevent fraud. The remainder of the purges are largely voters who moved out of the county or died.Full Article: Minorities, poor areas most affected by Maricopa County voter purges.
Arizona: Maricopa County to rely on employees, not tech company, during next election | Downtown Devil
The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office is turning to county employees to set up voting equipment instead of hiring a technology company for the general election in November after facing criticism for reports of delays in the opening of polling sites in the primary election in August.
Maricopa Recorder Adrian Fontes said reports of delays from some voters were blown out of proportion by the media and that record voter participation is what’s worth noting. He said the focus on “minor issues” is frustrating and dissuades voters.
The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office reported that a record 1.2 million people cast a ballot in August, 33 percent of registered voters. An interim report by the Internal Audit Office says 62 out of 503 polling stations opened at 11:33 a.m. rather than 6 a.m. when they were scheduled to open.
The Internal Audit Office’s report identifies a lack of a contingency plan as the main cause for delays in August, something Fontes’ office denies.
“We attacked the problem. All Maricopa voters had a place to vote,” Fontes said.County to rely on employees, not tech company, during next election.
Attorneys for a Phoenix-area election volunteer and the state of Arizona faced off before the Ninth Circuit Wednesday over a state law restricting who can deliver ballots for people who can’t get out to vote. A recent Arizona law forbids most non-family volunteers from delivering ballots to polling places — something that used to be a widespread practice. According to volunteer poll worker Rivko Knox and her attorney, Spencer Scharff, the 2015 law conflicts with federal postal laws that allow deliveries like the ones Knox hopes to make. The case hinges on several aspects of federal postal law, which allows some private carriers to deliver mail when they are engaged in official duties and using a postal route. The state argued that volunteer poll worker deliveries don’t meet those criteria, but Knox’s attorneys say they do.Full Article: Ninth Circuit Considers Arizona Ballot Delivery Law.
As the close of voter registration approaches in Arizona for the November 6 midterms, it is more than likely that thousands—if not tens of thousands—of registered voters who recently moved inside the state will be walking into a trap on Election Day. At best, they will face an annoying and inconvenient runaround to find a polling place to cast a ballot that will count. But just as likely many voters who moved to another county will find that their voting status has been suspended for the 2018 election. The reasons for this likely quagmire are numerous. Some of the blame falls on Arizona residents who moved and didn’t revise their voter registration information. But a larger share of the blame falls on the state, especially two agencies involved in elections, for a series of uneven, bureaucratically opaque, and even legally dubious moves that don’t come down on the side of ensuring that all already-registered voters can participate.Full Article: How Arizona Officials May Obstruct Thousands Of Voters.