Senate kills election drop box bill

 An election ballot drop box is shown outside Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in downtown Phoenix on Sept. 25, 2020. Photo by Brandon Quester | Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services  

State senators refused Monday to outlaw or even restrict the use of ballot “drop boxes” despite claims they are opportunities for fraud – and despite backers citing a political movie claiming that they were responsible for the 2020 election being stolen from Donald Trump. 

There was unified opposition among Democrats who question the wisdom of new restrictions on the ability of voters to be able to drop off their early ballots. 

But HB 2238 also drew strong opposition from Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale. 

She cited the film “2000 Mules” which claims to have evidence that partisans were stuffing drop boxes with multiple ballots in swing states in large enough numbers to affect the outcome of the presidential race. Ugenti-Rita said as long as there are unattended ballot boxes the practice will continue. 

HB 2238 wasn’t the only election-related measure killed Monday by the Senate. 

Lawmakers also killed HB 2378 to require consent of county election officials when the secretary of state settles election-related lawsuits. And they defeated HB 2602 to sharply restrict the ability of counties to set up emergency vote centers. 

But it was the squabble over drop boxes – and the stir caused by the claims in the movie by Trump supporter Dinesh D’Sousa – that caused the sharpest debate. 

In the film, D’Sousa says that digital tracking of cell phone signals show the same users driving by drop boxes multiple times, though the accuracy of such geolocation has been questioned. 

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