Another voter suppression bill hit the Arizona Legislature — but this time it failed


It's a rare bit of good news for voting rights advocates.

A bill that would require voters to provide a raft of personal information in order to cast an absentee ballot failed in the Republican-run Arizona state House on Wednesday, after two GOP lawmakers joined with Democrats to vote against it.

If it had passed, the bill, S.B. 1713, would have forced voters to list their date of birth, as well as other personally identifying information, a combination that one state Democrat, Rep. Athena Salman, called "an identity thief's dream come true."

Salman told ABC News that the bill's requirements were unnecessary and that they would have cost the state thousands of extra hours and dollars to check the new ID requirements.

"Currently in the process, in Arizona's largest county, it is 528 hours of ripping the flap of the envelope, at one second a ballot," she said. "So the impact of 1713 would take that 520 hours right now of ripping -- one second a ballot, the status quo that we have -- and it would add an additional 2,500. That's 2,500 hours, costing over $35,000."

State Rep. Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren, a Democrat, said that the legislation could negatively impact tribal voters in particular, as there could be discrepancies with their dates of birth.

"This bill will disproportionately impact our tribal elders who weren't born in the hospital and don't have an accurate birth date across all of their records," Blackwater-Nygren said in a speech on the state House floor, according to ABC News.

However, despite the fact that Republicans control the state House, the bill failed on a 29-31 vote, with two GOP lawmakers voting against it.

The legislation was one of the hundreds of voter suppression bills being considered by GOP-controlled state legislatures across the country.

Other states, such as Georgia and Florida, passed laws requiring voters to provide ID to vote by mail, a move intended to make it harder to use the voting method that Donald Trump has falsely claimed led to fraud in the 2020 election.

Voting rights experts say the additional step will lead to more incorrect ballot rejections, thus suppressing the vote.

While this bill failed to pass, Arizona Republicans already passed a law that could lead to the purge of more than 125,000 voters from the Permanent Early Voting List — which allows voters to opt in to receiving absentee ballots for every election. The new law would purge voters from the list if they do not vote in two straight election cycles and then fail to respond to a notice that warns them they'll be removed.

Meanwhile, Republican state lawmakers are also working to pass legislation that would punish Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs for speaking out against state Senate Republicans' disastrous election audit.

If that legislation passed, Hobbs, the state's top election official, would be barred from defending herself against election lawsuits. Instead, GOP Attorney General Mark Brnovich would have control of defending — or not defending — Hobbs in the lawsuits.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.