Critics blast bill that would purge names from list of mail-in voters

“This is not about election security. This is not about election integrity. This is about trying to game the system,” said state Rep. Reginald Bolding Jr., D-Phoenix, the House Minority Leader./ Cronkite News video

By Ryan Knappenberger | Cronkite News

Voting rights advocates and Arizona Democrats on Wednesday denounced a bill that would remove voters from the Permanent Early Voting List, calling it an attempt to disenfranchise up to 150,000 voters, particularly those of color.

SB 1485, which passed the House Tuesday and is expected to win final approval in the Senate, would remove people who fail to vote in two consecutive election cycles from the list of those who automatically get a ballot by mail. Under current law, voters are only removed from the list if they request to be dropped or their registration is canceled.

But critics said Wednesday Arizona’s long history with mail-in voting proves the system works. SB 1485 aims to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, they said.

“There is really no valid reason to change these systems unless you’re really looking to make it harder for people to vote. There really is no reason to turn back the clock on our successful vote-by-mail system.”

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

Hobbs was speaking at a news conference called to drum up support for HR 1, a sweeping elections bill in Congress that would set federal regulations and standards for elections. But the event quickly turned toward the GOP-backed bills in the state legislature.

“This is not about election security. This is not about election integrity. This is about trying to game the system,” said state Rep. Reginald Bolding Jr., D-Phoenix, the House Minority Leader.

Republican legislators did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday, but in remarks earlier this week they attacked both Democrats and the media for what they called unjustified criticism of their bills.

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