Voting polling place

Polling locations in Payson have made a commitment to provide a safe and peaceful experience for voters during the Nov. 3 general election.

Arizona Republicans are pushing hard for a slew of new laws that would make it harder to vote.

Republicans say the measures will prevent voter fraud in future elections. Measures include eliminating all-mail balloting, eliminating the permanent early voter list, bar the counting of late-arriving ballots and give selected lawmakers control over elections procedures, rather than the governor and secretary of state.

The bills mostly stem from complaints about the conduct of the 2020 elections, including claims of widespread fraud. Judges rejected all of those claims in a flurry of lawsuits.

The 2020 election saw record turnout. By the time the smoke cleared, Republicans had defended their narrow majorities in the state House and Senate and all the congressional incumbents had won re-election. However, the state ended up with two Democratic U.S. senators for the first time in decades and President Joe Biden narrowly won the presidential vote.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey certified election results, saying that Arizona had one of the best regulated, most widely used mail-in balloting systems in the country, including verification of the signatures on every ballot.

Judges quickly dismissed a dozen Republican lawsuits saying the actions presented no evidence of illegally cast or miscounted votes sufficient to change any of the election outcomes.

The Arizona Legislature continues to pursue another audit of vote results in Maricopa County, although the county has conducted repeated audits of the vote count and the voting machines finding no irregularities. The Legislature fell one vote short of holding the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt last week, after the supervisors decided not to turn over copies of all the county’s mail-in ballots and access to its voting machines. State law requires the ballots to be locked up unless a judge orders their release.

This week, the Arizona Senate brought back from the dead as a strike-all bill a measure that would drop an estimated 200,000 people from the automatic early voting list. People would be dropped from the list to receive early ballots unless they vote in at least one election every two years. The state has for two decades relied heavily on mail-in balloting and roughly 80% of voters rely on the system. In most Arizona elections, Republicans are more likely to take advantage of the system than Democrats. This year, Democrats edged out Republicans in their reliance on mail-in balloting. No studies have shown a higher incidence of fraud in mail-in balloting than in in-person balloting.

Other bills that would affect voting making their way through the Legislature including a law that would prevent election officials from counting any mail-in ballots postmarked after the Thursday before an election and require counties to mail out ballots 22 days before an election, rather than 27. Another bill would require mail-in ballots to include an affidavit with the voter’s birthdate and proof of identity.

The state Republican Party put out an email alert this week, urging people to contact their state legislative representatives to support a host of new restrictions on voting.

Those bills include:

HB2794: Makes registering a voter the day of the election a class 6 felony.

HB2794: Makes changing any election deadline a class 6 felony.

HB2793: Requires voters to request a mail-in ballot for each election, rather than relying on an automatic “permanent” early voter list.

HB2792: Prohibits mass mailing of ballots to voters who do not request a ballot, effectively eliminating the all-mail balloting used by many towns and school districts and heading off a Democratic proposal.

HB2569: Prohibits private funding of elections activities, like the $400 million donation Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made to elections offices throughout the country to help hold elections during the pandemic.

HB2039: Increases from 2% to 5% the percentage of ballots or precincts to be used in a hand count to double check the totals on voting machines.

Contact the writer at paleshire@payson.com

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(9) comments

Don Manthe

I'm amused on how we have tried to change the conversation from the insurrection and violence/riot at the Capitol that threatened the Republic due to so-called "patriots" chanting "stop the steal" and "kill Mike Pence", trying to overthrow a regulated and fair election. Now it is the trope of "illegal" voting and needed voting restrictions. Oh, and without any evidence of wide spread voting fraud. Speaking of which, the only voter fraud I have heard of was in Wisconsin and guess which candidate was the beneficiary of that fraud? So excuse me for not believing the new trope of "needed voter restrictions" from the minority who are starting to realize that the majority of Americans are now in charge. Yes, the baggage claim worker at the Atlanta Airport now has as much of a voice as I do. I guess I better get use to it.🙄 Can you?

darrin boyd

My representatives Walt Blackman and Brenda Barton will get a thumbs up from me to vote in support of these bills. As well as my state senator, Wendy Rogers, when it reaches the Senate. The more we can do to secure every individual's vote and ensure the votes are legal is a net positive. We must do everything we can to protect our nation's sovereignty and the Republic.

Charles Eby

This seems to me to be a solution in search of a problem. When Arizona was a reliably red state, Republicans did not express any concern about voter fraud. Now that Arizona is at a tipping point, holy moly, there is now rampant fraud everywhere! If the real reason for these bills is to eliminate voter fraud, it would be nice if Republicans could show us the evidence of such fraud before implementing laws that will make it much harder and less convenient to vote. There is no such evidence, which leads me to believe that Republicans are not being truthful in their reasons for these measures.

Alex Slatalla

We have been voting by mail for 20 years. Signatures get checked. Voting requires id. I support getting private money out of elections. The rest of these bills seem ill thought out.

Phil Mason

Thank you Peter for maintaining your left-wing-tip biased reporting and headlines. It makes it comfortable that we will not be surprised by any pretense of journalism by you.

Republicans only want to reduce/prevent ILLEGAL voting. That obviously is lost in your biases.

Mike White

No! Not making it harder to vote. Come on, now. It is to make it harder to vote illegally and harder for ballot processors to cheat. We must clean up our election processes so that we once again have confidence in our elections, which we now do not.

Don Manthe

Yes- making it harder to vote as the State of Arizona lawyer said in the US Supreme Court today:

Justice Barrett asks GOP lawyer Michael Carvin in AZ case: "why is the RNC in this case?"

Carvin admits striking down restrictions on voting "puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats"

Way to say the quiet part aloud...🙄

The only people that don't have confidence in the elections are the ones that still believe "the big lie"

Mike White

If there is nothing to hide or uncover, then let us all have an audit of our voting machines and our ballot handling processes. Refusing to hear evidence only make Americans who have lost faith in our election system even more skeptical and disenchanted. I am happy for you that you have confidence in your favorable results, in spite of the overwhelming amount of sworn testimony (from poll workers of both parties) of widespread voter fraud. But please have some respect for the other half of the

Americans who want to see the evidence given the light of day in court rather than its being further buried under legal obfuscation.

Phil Mason

It simply makes it harder for illegal votes to cancel out legal votes. No one argues that requiring ID prevents anyone from getting electric, gas, or phone service. Shouldn't the security of the electoral system be as robust as getting a cell phone or rent an apartment???

Of course it should, unless you oppose illegal voting that reduces your party stealing elections.

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