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AZGOP wants early voting declared unconstitutional

arizona state capitol AP
Posted at 6:28 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 21:08:01-05

PHOENIX — Since 1991, Arizonans have been able to vote by mail. Over the years it has grown in popularity to where in 2020, more than 80% of the vote in Arizona's 2020 presidential election was the result of early voting.

Now the AZGOP is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to decide if early voting is constitutional.

"I don't think this has any legs. We've been doing this in Arizona for a generation if not more," said State Senator T. J. Shope, (R) Coolidge-District 8. Shope is an early voter. In fact, the Senator says he's voted by mail in every election except his first one, back when he was a teenager.

"The train has left the station as far as how many people prefer to vote this way," Shope said.

State Senator Kelly Townsend, who has authored many of the election reform bills being considered this session, says just because early voting is convenient doesn't make it legal.

"Right now, the Arizona constitution requires a secret ballot and when you have election workers open your ballot, they know it's your ballot and they see how you voted. That's not secret," Townsend said.

In a statement, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said, "Arizona's early voting system is secure and popular. This lawsuit filed by the Republican party of Arizona has a single aim -- to make it more difficult to vote. I look forward to once again defending the voters of Arizona and defeating this ridiculous attempt to undermine our elections."

The Arizona Supreme Court requested both sides file motions by March 11.