Republicans in Arizona are proposing far reaching changes in voter laws to curb voting by mail. A number of states, including Georgia which has a majority of GOP in the state House and Senate, have been looking at ways and means to restrict voting through mail after former president Trump lost. Mail ballots all over the country generally favored the Democrats, specifically in GOP bastions, in the southern states of the nation and in traditionally red states.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law says that representatives from Arizona have put forth at least 22 restrictive bills. Over fifty percent of these bills seek to make changes in mail voting rights.
One of the most controversial bills is trying to remove infrequent voters off the Permanent Early Voting List or PEVL. Incidentally, Arizona voters have been voting by mail for 30 years.
Emily Kirkland, the executive director of Progress Arizona, an advocacy group has said that this is an assault on voting rights and democratic institutions in the state. She mentioned that the same lawmakers who are proposing these bills are the ones who had spread lies about a stolen election. She sees a pattern in this legislation.
The advocacy group is using different ways and means to lobby against the legislations. From billboards to T-shirts, nothing is too big or too small to advertise the detrimental effects that the passing of this legislation could have on the state.
These bills, if passed, would make it difficult for voters, mainly those of color, to register to vote and to cast their votes by mail.
One ray of hope in this restrictive legislation is Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona. He has made it clear in the past that he is in favor of the mail voting system and has also defended the mailing system in the past. Democrats, civil and voting rights advocates have termed the bills as voter suppression.
The Secretary of State’s office in Arizona said that approximately 80% of the state’s voters are early ones and they cast their ballot in person or by mail. In 2020, during the pandemic, the number of early voters in Arizona rose to 88%.