Arizona panel votes to require excuse for early voting

Voting in Arizona
Posted at 8:06 AM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 14:10:56-05

PHOENIX — Arizona Republicans on Monday advanced legislation to unwind the state’s overwhelmingly popular early voting system by requiring that voters have a reason and make a request to vote by mail.

The measure aims to steer most voters toward in-person balloting on Election Day, a method used by just 10% of voters in 2020.

It would eliminate the Automatic Early Voting List, which allows voters to get a ballot in the mail before every election, and nix in-person early voting and emergency voting before Election Day.

The measure was approved in party-line votes of the Senate Government Committee, setting up a potential debate in the full Senate in the coming weeks.

The volume of election reform bills lawmakers may consider this session is staggering. 105 bills filed, ranging from ending early voting to jailing election workers if they misplace ballots.

Most of the election reform bills are in response to Arizona's 2020 election audit.

In January, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors refuted nearly all of the Cyber Ninjas 75 claims of inaccuracy. The county found 22 of those claims were misleading. Another 41 claims were inaccurate because the claims stated fraud or misstated analysis and 13 claims were false.

There are bills like strengthening voter ID, regular auditing of county election offices, posting ballot images online, and adjusting the rules for ballot drop boxes which have a good chance of passing this session. But it is a long journey for a bill to make its way to the finish line during any legislative session.