Arizona State House passes election-related bills in bipartisan vote

The Arizona House has approved several election bills in bipartisan votes.

"It’s about restoring confidence in our elections. More importantly, reinforcing that people can believe the outcome of an election," said State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R).

The measures approved Tuesday, which have all already passed the Senate, make relatively minor changes to election procedures. One of the measures, SB1008, would raise the threshold for triggering an automatic recount in close elections. 

"A recount is only triggered when the two candidates are in a tenth of a percent of each other. This increases it to half a percent," said State Sen. Ugenti-Rita.

Some voicing concern over lower recount threshold

The lower recount threshold means it is likely recounts will happen after almost every election, which experts say could delay final results.

However, both Democrats and Republicans agree this will help clear the possibilities of voting errors.

"In order for us to get to a place where we don’t have to worry about, you know, fake audits and people trying to take away our voter data to put it in other places, we can have professionally trained election officials recounting ballots in the event that we need to actually have that happen in close elections," said State Rep. Reginald Bolding, a Democrat who is running for Secretary of State. 

Historically, recounts have rarely led to a reversal of results, but supporters say the bill would make the option to have a recount in the first place easier and more accessible.

"We have so much chaos involving politics right now. We need leaders that actually stand up and work together, and this is an area where we can work together," said State Rep. Bolding.

Other bills involve minor changes to election process

Another would require the Game and Fish Department to hand out voter registration links or forms when people sign up for hunting and fishing licenses.

A third bill aims to require court clerks to report new felony convictions monthly, so voter registrations can be canceled. A fifth directs county election officials to count and publicly report the number of uncounted early ballots on election night, if practical.

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Meanwhile, lawmakers voted down a handful of bills that were universally opposed by Democrats, in part because there weren’t enough Republican lawmakers on hand to pass bills without Democratic votes.

One failed bill would allow people to carry their mail ballot to a polling place, show identification and have their ballot tabulated on the spot as if they had voted in person. Democrats said not all counties have the technology to do that, so the bill risks creating disparate procedures across the state.

Another failed bill would make it a felony to forward a mail ballot to someone known to be registered to vote in another state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.