Arizona Passes Election Bill Designed to Help ‘Clean Up’ Early Voting Lists

It was reported last month that a GOP election bill that could remove 200k people from the permanent early voting list cleared the Arizona House of Representatives.

Today, AZ State Senator Wendy Rogers announced that the bill had been approved in the Senate as well and Gov. Doug Ducey (R) released a video saying that he has signed it into law.

In a tweet, Rogers said, “Proud to vote for this bill (SB1485) and I am glad it passed! It is an outstanding bill that helps clean up the voter rolls and protects us from fraud. ‘Renames the permanent early voting list (PEVL) as the active early voting list (AEVL).'”

Rogers explained that the bill “Removes a voter from the AEVL if the voter fails to vote by early ballot in all regular primary or regular general elections and all city or town candidate primary or first elections or city or town candidate second, general or runoff elections for two consecutive election cycles.

The bill also “Requires counties to notify a voter prior to removing that voter from the AEVL” and had stalled out for weeks in the House of Representatives since passing out of committee on March 10.

The timeframe coincided with increased activism against legislation in Arizona, Georgia and elsewhere in the U.S. that Democrats castigated as voter suppression, but proposed changes by AZ State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, the bill’s sponsor, helped break the logjam.

According last month’s report Ducey, who rarely comments on bills he hasn’t acted on, hasn’t said whether he’d be willing to sign Senate Bill 1485, but he has made a number of public comments saying he’s open to signing at least some of the election-related legislation working its way through the legislature.

Ducey said in a tweet, “Arizona is a national leader when it comes to election integrity and access to the ballot box, and today I signed #SB1485 to continue that legacy.”

“Arizona has for years continuously improved and refined our election laws ⁠— including intuitively renaming ‘absentee’ voting to ‘early’ voting ⁠— and constantly seeking to strengthen the security and integrity of our elections,” Ducey continued.

Docey concluded, “S.B 1485 ensures Arizona remains a leader for inclusive, accessible, efficient and secure election administration. I am thankful to Senator @MichelleUgenti, who sponsored the legislation, for crafting this reform and getting it across the finish line.”

Democrats decried the bill, with AZ House Rep Aaron Lieberman claiming, “Let’s call it for what it is: This is an effort to make it harder for people of color to vote,” which earned him a rebuke from GOP House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who to cut off debate on the bill, angering Democrats, who responded with an unsuccessful procedural maneuver.

House Minority Leader Reggie Bolding said of Bowers comments that “He clearly stated what every reputable institution that follows elections and democracy in this country knows.”

“When you make it more challenging by, say, removing an option that people use to participate in democracy, you make it harder for them to vote,” Bolding added.