Arizona lawmakers are keen on changing election laws in 2022./ Erik (Hash) Hersman/Flickr
By Kristen Mosbrucker | Phoenix New Times
Republican Arizona lawmakers filed nearly a wish-list of nearly a dozen election reform measures to reshape how people vote and impose new criminal charges on some violators.
Under the banner of tightening election security, lawmakers want to create a new election bureaucracy, make it a crime to misplace a ballot and ban most drive-up voting.
It’s no surprise that Arizona politicians are keen to change election laws in the state after a contentious presidential election and partisan audit.
While it’s unlikely that all the bills — or any — would make it out of committee, here is what the legislature will start considering on Monday. About 1,900 bills were filed in the Arizona House and Senate in 2021 during the regular session and 446 were signed into law, or about 23.4% of bills became law last year.
Arizona isn’t alone in the flurry of election-related legislation, there were 3,676 bills related to election law in state legislatures nationwide in 2021, the highest since the National Conference of State Legislatures began tracking the metric in 2001. But 285 bills across 42 states and two U.S. territories became law last year.
In Arizona, State Senator Wendy Rogers, who represents rural Coconino, Yavapai, Navajo, and Gila counties in District 6, wants to set aside $5 million to stand up a new state governmental entity, a Bureau of Elections through SB 1027. The sole purpose of this bureau would be to investigate any allegations of fraud in local, county, or state elections.
Rogers is also stumping to make primary and general election days paid holidays for all workers in Arizona. Some argue SB 1043 could increase voter participation.
At the same time, with SB 1085 she wants to prohibit any drive-up voting process for everyone who is not disabled and protected by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act law for reasonable accommodations. Progressive election officials have pushed back already.
“If you were wondering whether or not the attack on voting rights was over in AZ, it’s not. They want us to ask people for proof of disability for drive-up voting and limit drop boxes,” said Pima County Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly on Twitter. “Not only is it impractical to ask voters to disclose their disability status, it is reprehensible and unacceptable to do so.”
Employers are not allowed to ask individuals if they are disabled according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, so it seems unlikely that ballot box volunteers would be legally permitted to do so.