Lawmakers Need to Clean Up Arizona’s Early Voter List

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More than 100,000 Arizona voters on the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) have not voted by early ballot in the past four years.

Think about that for a moment. These are people who asked to be on the PEVL but are choosing not to use the system. Not only does this waste taxpayers like your money by sending out unwanted ballots, but it compromises the integrity of our elections.

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If someone isn’t using the system, they shouldn’t continue to receive an early ballot by mail. Thankfully, the Arizona Senate addressed the PEVL on Tuesday by passing SB1485, a bill sponsored by Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-LD23). And predictably, as the bill heads to the Arizona House, Democrats are losing their minds. While most of them are mischaracterizing this bill as “voter suppression,” others have called it a “full-on assault on Democracy,” and Representative Athena Salman (D-LD26) couldn’t help but label it as “racist.”

But while Arizona Democrats proceeded to hurl unhinged attacks and insults at proponents of the legislation, it’s important to look at what this bill actually does. And it’s not that complicated.

SB1485 simply changes the name of the list from the PEVL to the Early Voting List (EVL). That means voters can continue to vote early and by mail as long as they are on the list. But if an individual doesn’t vote by early ballot in both the primary election and the general election for two consecutive cycles, he or she will receive a notice from their county recorder. Failure to respond to the notice means the voter will be removed from the list.

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As you can see, this isn’t some sinister conspiracy-like Democrats are making it out to be.

There’s nothing in the bill that prevents a voter from being placed back on the list. And it certainly has no impact on someone’s voter registration status.

However, Democrats would rather cry wolf about “voter suppression” and “racism” instead of recognizing that this is a bill that should be embraced by all parties. Is it because they know they stand to benefit from outdated voter rolls or a deeply flawed mail-in voting system?

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More than likely, that’s the case.

The fact is that distrust in this past November’s election remains high. And mail-in voting is more prone to mistakes, mishaps, and mischief. But that doesn’t mean it should be eliminated. Mail-in voting is popular in Arizona, and SB1485 allows for it to continue. But additional security measures are necessary to protect this method of voting.

Once fraud is in the election system, it is extremely difficult to prove and root out. Cleaning up voter rolls by ensuring the EVL is kept up to date by removing deceased persons, citizens who have moved to another state, duplicate voter files, and anyone who isn’t actively using the system is critically important.

While more steps are needed to improve election integrity through the state, SB1485 is a step in the right direction. Now, it’s up to the House to pass this crucial piece of legislation.

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This article first appeared on March 4, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club.

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