Arizona Republicans Pass More Voter Suppression Bills (video)

voter suppression in Arizona

Each session has a pattern. This year, everything seems more orderly. We have had only one night where we were on the floor past 7 PM. Mondays generally have a leisurely pace, now that there are no committee meetings, but Thursday’s make up for it with rousing debates.

Arizona House members had several debates on voter suppression and unnecessary election tinkering on April 29. Three bad election bills passed on a party line vote. The worst one sets up a differential system for paper ballots that have missing, messed up or non-matching signatures. Ballots with missing signatures can be cured only up to 7 PM on the night of the election, while messed up signatures can be cured for up to five days after the election.

People whose first language is not English are more likely to not sign their ballots, according to Rep. Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren from LD7. People, who are older and whose handwriting may be impaired or changing due to a medical diagnosis, would end up in the five-day signature resolution pile. You can see why this two-tiered system for signature curing matters. Also, many people drop their completed paper ballots off at the polling place. Those ballots are usually counted AFTER election day. Any of those ballots without signatures wouldn’t be counted at all if SB1003 is signed into law.

The Navajo Nation sued the state of Arizona over this issue in 2018 and won. Why are the Republicans putting into law, the very system on which we lost in court? SB1003 is a terrible bill.
Continue reading Arizona Republicans Pass More Voter Suppression Bills (video)

What Did #AZLeg Do in the First 100 Days?

Phoenix

For many years, the Arizona Legislature has had a 100 day target for the length of each session. April 20, 2021 was day 100 for this session. When more than 1000 bills are proposed every year and more than 300 are usually signed into law in non-pandemic years, the Legislature doesn’t generally finish in 100 days.

So, what did we do in the first 100 days? Here are a few examples of bills that have been signed by the governor. Below is the complete list of 33 video updates that I have created in 2021 … so far.

The Legislature passed two massive corporate tax giveaways that will primarily help Maricopa County — the qualified facilities tax credit (HB2321) and the data center tax incentive (HB2649).  Fun Fact: according to the Financial Advisory Committee, 90 percent of the job creation touted by Governor Doug Ducey has been in the Phoenix metro area. Bills like HB2321 and HB2649 perpetuate the inequitable system that exists in our state.

We passed a passed another Ducey priority, the  massive expansion of gambling (HB2772/SB1797), which legalizes sports betting, fantasy sports betting, and app-based Keno. In exchange for additional casinos and a portion of the app-based gambling action, the tribes backed and heavily lobbied for expanding off-reservation gambling. Since most of the new tribal casinos and all of the major league sports teams are in Maricopa County, the millions generated from gambling will disproportionately benefit Maricopa County. I have serious concerns about the negative public health and privacy aspects of this dramatic expansion. Gambling will be everywhere, and gambling apps will be hounding people on social media — thanks to HB2772. Every click, every bet, every win, every loss, and every betting location on every app-based gambler will be collected, stored, and used to advertise more gambling.

Ducey surprisingly vetoed Cathi Herrod’s bad bill which put ideological guardrails on what can be taught in sex education (SB1456). A second Center for Arizona Policy bill which criminalizes doctors and patients for even talking about abortion (SB1457) is awaiting the governors signature (or veto) at the time of this writing.

Many bills are stuck in the process somewhere, which is a good thing. Arizona would be in terrible condition if all of the tax giveaways, voter suppression schemes, and education privatization bills passed. In my opinion, Democrats should push for a speedy end to this horrible session, so the Legislature doesn’t do any more damage to our state or take away more of our rights.

There are many other examples. Check out the good, the bad and the ugly. Below is a list of my video updates for 2021 … so far.

Continue reading What Did #AZLeg Do in the First 100 Days?

#AZHouse Republicans Pass #PEVLPurge Voter Suppression Bill (video)

Rep. Reggie Bolding

April 23 UPDATE: As only she can do, Senator Kelly Townsend put a fly in the Republican Party’s ointment on Thursday when she unexpectedly voted NO on HB1485, killed the PEVL Purge bill (at lease temporarily), and left the building. [Below is my original blog post about the House vote.]

April 20 was high drama in the Arizona House — and not because it was 4/20!

After multiple parliamentary maneuvers to shut down debate on voter suppression, a retreat by the Democratic Caucus, and three hours of raucous wrangling over one bill, the Republicans passed SB1485 on a party line vote.

This bill has been dubbed the PEVL purge because it will knock voters off of the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL). It will disproportionally affect Black, Latino and Native American voters, seniors, and registered Independents. According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, if this bill passes, ~200,000 Arizona voters could be knocked off the PEVL before the next election. 

Speaker Rusty Bowers refused to allow ANY debate in the Committee of the Whole (COW). Democrats called foul on lack of debate and late posting of amendments. Rep. Athena Salman, our parliamentary procedures whiz, called for a 24 hour delay in Floor action because amendments were not provided to members in a timely fashion, as per House rules. Floor was delayed one hour (instead of 24 hours). Republicans really wanted to pass both SB 1485 (voter suppression) and SB1457 (anti-abortion/fetal personhood) on the same day and then head to the border for a photo op on Wednesday with Governor Doug Ducey, who announced deploying National Guard to the border.

Continue reading #AZHouse Republicans Pass #PEVLPurge Voter Suppression Bill (video)

Republican Bills Attack Voting Rights, Freedom of Expression (video)

voter suppression in Arizona

We were greeted with a HUGE list of bills in caucus this morning.

Since the staff didn’t receive the caucus agenda until about an hour before the meeting, Democrats discussed a giant list of controversial bills with no staff briefing materials. (Typical Republican disrespect for our caucus and our staff.)

The list of bills attacking your rights was nearly 2 pages long. Republicans have proposed several voter suppression bills, plus attacks on freedom to protest, Clean Elections, and the Citizens Initiative. This blog post and video from February covers some of the voter suppression bills proposed in the Arizona House.

Today’s video covers a few examples of Senate voter suppression bills: SB1485 (PEVL Purge proposed by Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita); SB1593 (shortening length of time to vote early proposed by Senator David Gowan); SB1106 (class 6 felony for people who vote in Arizona and don’t intent to remain a resident of Arizona, proposed by Senator J.D. Mesnard); and SB1530 (instructions to mail ballots back would criminalize family members who forward ballots, proposed by Mesnard).

Continue reading Republican Bills Attack Voting Rights, Freedom of Expression (video)

Arizona Is #1 in Voter Suppression (video)

Sign up for vote-by-mail

There’s never a dull moment in the Arizona Legislature when we debate voter suppression. There are more than 30 voter suppression bills currently in play. Arizona Republicans are #1 in the nation for their productivity. The sheer volume of bad bills that make it harder to vote, harder to register to vote, and easier to hide campaign donations is staggering. Many thanks to the hundreds of people who signed into RTS against these terrible attacks on your right to vote.

This video discuss several voter suppression bills from Reps. John Kavanagh and Jake Hoffman: HB2723 (campaign finance); HB2792 (felony charges for election workers who mail an unrequested ballot); HB2793 (criminalizing volunteers who register people to vote); HB2811 (ban on same-day voting); HB2569 (ban on elections departments taking outside funds to run the elections); HB2794 (ban on changing election deadlines, even during a pandemic); and HCR2023 (attack on Congressional voter rights bill HR1). (Correction to the video: I named Kavanagh and Chaplik as the source for these voter suppression bills, when in fact, these bills should be credited to Kavanagh and Hoffman. Hoffman gets the prize for proposing six voter suppression, although Kavanagh infamously said the the Government and Elections Committee that government should not look at the “quality of the votes” in an election — not just the quantity.)

Continue reading Arizona Is #1 in Voter Suppression (video)

#COVID19: ‘Vote-by-Mail’ Is Safe Way to Vote during a Pandemic

Sign up for vote-by-mail

Tens of thousands of Arizona voters– regardless of party affiliation– have signed up for the state’s vote-by-mail system by adding their names to the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL).

Vote-by-mail is safe and convenient. The current anti-mail-in ballot rhetoric from the Republican Party is meant to suppress the vote by stonewalling against mandates for national or statewide all-mail-in elections, given the COVID19 pandemic.

In-person voting during the COVID19 is risky for voters and poll workers. Wisconsin allowed people to vote at the polls in April, and one month later there were 71 COVID19 infections tracked to voters or poll workers.

Democratic Party Legislators have been pushing for all-mail-in ballots for the 2020 primary and general elections, but the Republicans are dead set against expanding vote-by-mail.

Sign Up for Vote-By-Mail

You can voluntarily add yourself to the PEVL list by going to ServiceArizona.com.

Continue reading #COVID19: ‘Vote-by-Mail’ Is Safe Way to Vote during a Pandemic