Cue the crazy: Another GOP candidate wants to end early voting in Arizona

(Feb. 20, 2000) — Members of several grassroots organizations in Arizona stand during hearings for Senate Bill 1032. Opponents say it amounts to voter suppression, while supporters say it gives county recorders more flexibility. /Photo by Luis Torres/Cronkite News

Opinion: The Republican drumbeat has begun — a call to end the state’s wildly popular early voting program, fixing a problem that doesn’t actually exist.

By Laurie Robert | Arizona Republic

Solar executive Jim Lamon, one of five Republicans hoping to knock off Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, wants to put a stop to early voting.

“To make elections free and fair again, we must get mail-in ballots under control,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “We need to take measures to ban mail-in ballot voting. Those who are unable to physically go to the polls to cast their vote can request an absentee ballot with proof of address. No more games.”

I can see Lamon’s campaign slogan now: Vote for me and I’ll make it more difficult for you to vote.

Genius idea. But alas, not an original one.

Lake and Salmon already went there

Republican gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake and Matt Salmon already beat him to the party’s outer fringe. In late September, they signed the goofy Arizona Patriot Party’s “Contract with Arizona,” calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to immediately convene a special session to, among other things, kill the state’s 30-year-old early voting program.

“There’s so much corruption and cheating in our elections and much of it is coming from mail-in-voting … ,” Lake told me at the time, via her spokesman.

So much corruption and cheating, in fact, that the Arizona Senate’s Cyber Ninja auditors couldn’t find any actual evidence of corruption or cheating – only “anomalies” that make total sense if you take the time to read Maricopa County’s rebuttal of their findings.

In fact, Arizona has allowed early voting for 30 years, during which time Republicans have dominated statewide and legislative elections. The Legislature in 1991 passed a law allowing voters to request an absentee ballot for any reason.

In 2007, the Legislature made it even easier to vote early, allowing voters to sign up to automatically get an early ballot in the mail.


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October 2021