New voting laws move through Arizona legislature
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Republican led House at the Arizona State Legislature passed nearly a dozen voting rights bills this afternoon, many of which the Democrats called “voter suppression”.
Since the House has a one vote GOP majority, all but one of the bills passed. House bill 2236 died on a 29-30 vote.
The rest lived another day including HCR2015 which will require voter initiatives to receive 60% approval to pass. If it gets through the Senate and signed by the Governor, a legal challenge is all but promised.
Another bill, HB 2602 would eliminate emergency voting centers where voters can cast a ballot if they will be out of town or get sick on election day and have failed to return a mail in ballot, if they received one in the first place.
Pima County has defended their use even though the elimination had been threatened before.
“It creates another barrier, a new level of standard for what’s considered emergency voting at the state legislature, said District 27 Democrat Reginald Bolding. “We now decide what’s an emergency for citizens and citizens can’t decide what’s an emergency for themselves.”
House bill 2289 would require poll watchers at the more than 700 precincts statewide.
“I want to point out this is another unnecessary bill,” said District 9 Democrat Pamela Powers Hannley, who added there’s no appropriation (money) that would manage the process.
“We seem to pass a lot of bills around here that don’t make sense and are really kind of unnecessary,” said the bill’s sponsor, John Fillmore, a Republican from District 16.
As the afternoon wore on, the frustration of the Democrats became more apparent.
“It seems like we’re facing a number of bills that make it more difficult to vote,” said Judy Schweibert, a Democrat in District 20. “The right to vote is what makes America great, its what makes democracy work, it’s what we all take pride in.”
The bills won’t become law until they go to the Senate for approval, changes or just outright defeat.
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