News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.

Arizona moving toward a purge of vote-by-mail roster

The Republican-led Arizona legislature is moving to prevent many of the state's citizens from being able to vote by mail.

The Senate and a House panel have both passed legislation dictating that voters who do not cast ballots in two consecutive election cycles will be removed from the rolls of those eligible to cast mail-in ballots, the method now used by three-quarters of Arizonans. These people could still vote early in person.

A spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, told Newsweek about 200,000 people would be dropped but noted the figure is based on "our interpretation of the bill language," which lawmakers have conceded is unclear.

"These are individuals that obviously are not choosing to vote early," GOP state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita told The Arizona Republic. "This is frankly a sacred document. And we want to make sure that we're sending them to individuals who are utilizing the system."

"If this is not an issue of voter suppression, then please go back and fix this bill because the effect of it makes it look that way," countered Democratic state Rep. Diego Rodriguez.

© Issue One. All rights reserved.