GOP senators want to limit county voter registration drives

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By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

Senate Republicans are moving to approve new restrictions on the ability of county recorders to conduct voter registration drives.

The measure by Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, limits such sign-ups to government buildings. She said this takes politics out of the equation by precluding recorders from picking and choosing where to set up shop based on which group they hope to get registered.

But Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, said he sees something a bit more sinister — and perhaps hidden — in SB 1358.

“We didn’t want to point out exactly which communities are being more focused on than others,” he said. And Quezada said he thinks he knows why.

“County recorders are most likely to go to communities that are underrepresented in terms of their voter registration numbers,” he said. That, he said, makes sense.

What’s not said, Quezada continued, is who that is.

“Those communities tend to be black and brown, and they tend to be poor,” he said.

“And if that’s the problem, we’re dealing with a whole different issue here,” Quezada said. “And I think that’s very troubling.”

Ugenti-Rita, for her part, insists her legislation is neutral.

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