PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill making it easier to purge infrequent voters from a list of those who automatically get a ballot each election.
In a tweet Tuesday, the governor called "Arizona a national leader when it comes to election integrity" and he added that the bill continues the legacy.
“In 1992, our state began offering the ability for Arizonans to vote an absentee ballot. Since then, Arizona has 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,” the governor said in a letter, supporting the bill.
The Republican governor acted hours after state Senate Republicans approved the measure Tuesday over protests from Democrats and prominent business leaders who said the measure would suppress the votes of people of color.
According to a Tuesday release, the bill removes voters registered for permanently receiving a mail-in ballot if they have not voted in the primary and general elections for two consecutive election cycles.
Voters would be notified by the county before they are removed from the list. If that individual signs the notice and returns it, they will continue to receive their ballots in the mail.
The bill, sponsored by State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, was passed by the Arizona Senate earlier in the day.
"It's protecting elections and keeping the list up-to-date and accurate," Sen. Ugenti-Rita said in a statement. "The people on the list are opting-in to use this option. It needs to be regularly updated to make sure the people who are on the list to receive a ballot are voters who are taking advantage of the vote-by-mail option."
The measure is one of the most contentious bills moving in Arizona as Republicans in key states look to remake election procedures in the wake of President Donald Trump’s defeat last year. Repeated reviews have found no problems with the election results in Arizona or elsewhere.
BILL COMES AMID MARICOPA COUNTY AUDIT
The bill comes as an Republican state officials hold an audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice said it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate’s unprecedented private recount.
Governor Ducey assigned protection to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs after death threats amid the election audit.