Phoenix – Amidst a month-long break, the Arizona legislature briefly returned for two days, voting on a slate of bills, including two dangerous pieces of legislation that could jeopardize Arizona’s elections. HB 2722 progressed through the legislature and now heads to the governor’s desk. SB 1518 failed with a vote of 32-24, but was motioned for reconsideration once lawmakers return from recess on July 31st.
“Though the session only briefly resumed, we must remain vigilant and strike down bad bills that threaten Arizona’s democracy,” said Jenny Guzman, program director for Common Cause Arizona. “We are confident Governor Hobbs will continue her work to protect our elections and the rights of Arizona voters by vetoing these anti-democracy bills once they reach her desk.”
HB 2722 would allow counties to call for the hand counting of ballots no matter the size of the jurisdiction or complexity of the ballot. Hand counting a large jurisdiction with many items on the ballot can be an ineffective and inaccurate process.
SB 1518 originally implemented voter identification rules for early ballots, but now includes an amendment that would revive the vetoed Voter Privacy Violation Act. The bill was amended to include language from SB1324/HB2560, which would require all ballot images to be posted without any guardrails to protect voters who could be easily identified through this.
Removing the voter roll portion of the original bill does not mean that voter privacy will be ensured, and still leaves many vulnerable voters at risk of having their constitutional right to a secret ballot compromised.
Additionally, the amendment would require these ballot images to be posted before state certification, opening the door for frivolous election challenges and increasing the risk of missing critical election certification deadlines.
“A bad bill repurposed and attached to a lesser-known bill does not automatically mean reduced harm,” added Guzman. “This is still a bad bill. The Voter Privacy Violation Act was already vetoed once because it was dangerous. Even though it now has a new name, it must be vetoed again should it pass when the legislature reconvenes to keep Arizonans and our elections safe.”
Governor Hobbs has 5 days from transmission to sign or veto HB 2722. The legislature is scheduled to reconvene on July 31st.