Gov. Ducey signs bill to trim early voter roll

Doug Ducey
Gov. Doug Ducey signs Senate Bill 1485 into law. (Screen shot from azgovernor.gov)

Gov. Doug Ducey signs Senate Bill 1485 into law. (Screen shot from azgovernor.gov)

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on May 11 signed into law Senate Bill 1485, which will purge the permanent early voter rolls of anyone who has not voted by mail in the previous two election cycles.

The bill also renames the list from the permanent early voting list to the active early voting list.

“Arizona is a national leader when it comes to election integrity and access to the ballot box, and Senate Bill 1485 continues that legacy,” Ducey wrote in his signing letter for the bill. “In 1992, our state began offering the ability for Arizonans to vote an absentee ballot. Since then, Arizona has continuously improved and refined our election laws—including intuitively renaming ‘absentee’ voting to ‘early’ voting—and constantly seeking to strengthen the security and integrity of our elections.”

Under the new law, voters on the list who actively vote by mail will continue to receive an early ballot. However, if a voter on the list does not return at least one early ballot over the course of four years—two consecutive primary elections and general elections, and any municipal elections that precede them—the voter will be sent a postcard asking if they still want to receive an early ballot.

The county recorder may additionally reach the voter by telephone, text message or email. Voters who drop off the list remain eligible to request an early ballot or vote in person.


Bill sponsor Sen. Michele Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, thanked Ducey for signing the bill and “sticking to the facts of my legislation and ignoring the unfounded and inflammatory rhetoric of suppression to recognize the importance of maintaining an accurate voter list to protect the integrity of our elections by reducing the potential for fraud.”

Ugenti-Rita called it a “modest, but critical step toward restoring confidence in our election system.”

However, House Democratic Leader Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix, called it “one of the worst voter suppression pieces of legislation in the nation.” Senate Democrats from their Twitter account said there are no problems with the permanent early voting list, and the only doubts are ones manufactured by Arizona Republicans.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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