Arizona bill would end early voting in days leading up to election

A bill to change the deadline for early voting ballots passed an Arizona State Senate committee on May 16.

If passed, the bill known as HCR 2056 would go straight to voters. The bill proposes a number of changes to the election process, one of which would move the deadline for early ballots from 7:00 p.m. on Election Day to 7:00 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day, with exceptions made for emergency voting.

Republicans say the proposed legislation would help election integrity and get results faster.

"We are doing this because the voters are asking for it," said State Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-District 7). 

"We are trying to let people know that it’s called an early ballot because you are supposed to send it in early, and not on Election Day," said State Sen. John Kavanagh (R-District 3)

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Democrats say it would disenfranchise voters, and create confusion with government election offices.

"This inconvenience to voters is a significant and severe problem that I have, and the restrictions on early voting for voters is really problematic," said Secretary of State Adrian Fontes. "We just believe, respectfully, that this pie is not fully cooked."

"I think it’s going to make it more difficult to vote, and it doesn’t seek to have any secure part of the election," said State Sen. Brian Fernandez (D-District 23)

The bill, in its current form, came about as part of a so-called ‘Strike Everything’ amendment that removed all texts from a previous bill.