PHOENIX - It has been busy recently at the Arizona State Capitol, as the Republican-led State House discusses several voting rights bills over the past few weeks, and many of those bills are derided as "voter suppression" by Democratic lawmakers.
On Feb. 28, the main point of focus was on two measures that, if passed, would require residents to provide ID and other measures to prove who they are in order to early vote or vote by mail.
At the moment, Arizona’s existing identification rules are largely based on signature matching.
"Election integrity is paramount," said State Rep. John Kavanagh. The GOP lawmaker represents the state's 23rd Legislative District, which covers a portion of Scottsdale and parts of rural northeastern Maricopa County.
One of the measures being discussed is HCR2025. If passed, the bill would require residents to provide an ID, as well as the last four digits of their Social Security number in order to early vote. SCR1012, an identical measure, has already passed the State Senate.
Ultimately, if either measure passes, it would be up to the voters to approve on the November ballot, and the new law would go into effect in 2024.
"Now you don’t have to mail in your driver's license if it’s an early ballot. You would simply have to put in your driver's license number, which you have and you can copy, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Those two pieces of information would be hidden, so nobody could see it," said State Rep. Kavanagh.
State Rep. Kavanagh says this is the best way to ensure every vote is counted correctly and legally.
"It’s an easy way and a secure way to ensure that somebody who steals your ballot from the mailbox, or a family member who wants to vote on your behalf, unbeknownst to you, can’t find a piece of paper with your signature on it, trace it, and vote on your behalf," said State Rep. Kavanagh.
Those against the measure say it will create more problems than it is worth. They also say not everyone has the appropriate identification cards readily accessible.
"Sending in personal identifying information is going to take longer, it’s going to cost more to process, it could actually put peoples personal identifying information at risk," said State Rep. Kelli Butler. The Democratic lawmaker represents the state's 28th Legislative District, which covers a portion of Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party is trying to kill early voting altogether in the state, filing a lawsuit that states there is nothing in the Arizona State Constitution that allows for early voting.
In protest, voting rights advocates staged a self-proclaimed ‘Arizona Legislative Circus,’ which features stilt walking, costumed performers, and other things. They say it is to show the ‘circus’ happening inside, as they claim Republican legislators are acting like clowns.
Other Arizona Politics Stories
- Arizona Supreme Court will let judge decide Prop 208 case
- Gov. Doug Ducey proposes Arizona Water Authority, an agency to boost water supplies
- Ariz. students might not need Algebra 2 to graduate in the future; here's what you need to know about HB2278