Over the past two years, baseless election conspiracies and voter fraud claims took hold in the Arizona Legislature, which led to the passage of numerous anti-voter bills. Although the governor vetoed several of these bills, and the Legislature passed a few pro-voter initiatives in 2022, the overwhelmingly hostile anti-voter environment the Legislature unnecessarily created led to Arizona receiving a D- on this year’s progress report.
Where Arizona Started in 2020
- Automatic Voter Registration: No
- Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
- Same-Day Registration: No
- Restoration of Rights: Some Lifetime Disenfranchisement
- Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
- Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
- Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
- ID Requirements: Strict Non-Photo ID
Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Arizona as of 2020, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other middle tier states.
How Our Tier Compares:
2021: Two Years Ago
After the 2020 election, Arizona became ground zero for baseless election conspiracies and voter fraud claims. Unfortunately, these lies took hold in the Arizona Legislature, where many anti-voter bills became law.
- HB 2905 prohibits election officials from sending unsolicited mail ballots to voters.
- HB 2794 prohibits government officials, at state or local levels, from changing any election-related deadlines set by state statute, including filing and submittal dates, unless a court specifically orders the change.
- SB 1485 rebrands the existing “permanent early voting list” as the “active early voting list” and allows voters to be removed from the list if they fail to vote an early ballot in all elections for two consecutive election cycles. Voters will receive notice and have 90 days to respond or they will be removed.
- SB 1003, adopted in response to court proceedings, requires election officials to make “reasonable efforts” to notify voters if they forgot to sign their early ballot and allows voters to cure these ballots up until the close of polls on Election Day. This creates a different deadline from mail ballots with a mismatched signature, where voters have until five days after the election to cure.
- HB 2569 prohibits the state, and all other entities that administer elections in the state, from utilizing private funds to prepare for and conduct elections, including registering voters.
- SB 1819, although primarily a budget appropriation bill, also contained several election-related provisions. It attempted to strip control of several areas of election law away from the secretary of state’s office and shift it to the attorney general’s authority. Fortunately, this law was later found to be unconstitutional by the Arizona Supreme Court.
In addition to passing anti-voter laws, a small but vocal minority of Senators used the baseless voter fraud claims to push for an audit of the 2020 presidential election. They chose Cyber Ninjas, an out-of-state security consultant group that had no experience auditing elections, to complete the task. After spending months on a secretive review, not only did Cyber Ninjas find no evidence that the results were incorrect, it actually found more votes for the winning candidate.
Governor Ducey successfully vetoed two bills, HB 2360 and HB 2792 from the 2021 session. HB 2360 attempted to shift control of the online voter registration system away from a joint venture between the Department of Transportation and the secretary of state to one that came solely under the purview of the secretary. HB 2792 prohibited election officials from sending unsolicited mail ballots to voters. However, it should be noted that Governor Ducey later allowed HB 2905 to become law which contained nearly identical provisions to HB 2792.
2022: This Past Year
More than 100 anti-voter bills were introduced during the 2022 session. Although most of these bills barely moved past the introduction stage, several anti-voter bills were able to become law.
- HB 2492 unnecessarily complicates voter registration by requiring proof of residence and expanding existing proof of citizenship requirements. Anyone that does not provide proof of citizenship is expressly prohibited from voting in presidential elections and may not vote by mail. Furthermore, it empowers the attorney general and county recorders to investigate applicants’ citizenship status.
- HB 2243 requires county recorders to conduct monthly investigations into voters who a recorder “has reason to believe are not citizens” and to cancel those registrations if needed. Voters are then reported to the attorney general for potential investigation.
- SB 1260 requires county recorders to cancel a voter’s registration if the recorder receives confirmation the voter is registered in another Arizona county. The voter will not receive notice of the cancellation and the law does not specify what data qualifies for “confirmation” purposes.
- SB 1013 requires the secretary of state to reach out to the Election Assistance Commission to formally request that Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement be added to the federal voter registration form.
- HB 2236 expressly prohibits the state from instituting front-end opt-out automatic voter registration at state agencies.
- HB 2237 expressly prohibits the state from offering same-day voter registration.
Despite the overwhelming anti-voter sentiment at the Legislature this session, lawmakers did manage to pass a few small pro-voter reforms.
- SB 1411 requires all counties that use mail ballots to have an online ballot tracking system up and running by the end of 2023.
- SB 1170 requires the Department of Fish and Game to offer individuals applying for a hunting, fishing, or trapping license the opportunity to register to vote.
- SB 1460 makes it easier for voters that received a mail ballot to change their mind and cast a ballot in person. These voters will no longer be forced to cast a provisional ballot — instead these voters can vote a regular ballot by surrendering their mail ballot and showing voter ID.
- SB 1638 requires the secretary of state to provide an accessible vote by mail option for blind and visually impaired voters.
The legislature also referred a measure to the November 2022 ballot that would create additional identification requirements for voters.
- SCR 1012 would require mail-in voters to include identifying information on the ballot envelope (date of birth and the last four digits of their social security number or unexpired state-issued ID, license number, or tribal ID number). A similar law passed in Texas in 2021 saw 23,000 ballots rejected in the following election for missing, indecipherable, or mismatched identification information. The proposal would also heighten ID requirements for in-person voters. It would eliminate an existing option to provide two forms of non-photo ID and instead require an unexpired state-issued photo ID.
- Governor Ducey successfully vetoed HB 2627 which would have required county recorders to investigate and remove ineligible voters from the rolls. HB 2627 failed to include details on what matching criteria should be used to identify ineligible voters in state and federal databases and lacked a clear process for recorders to follow. Unfortunately, Governor Ducey later reversed course and signed HB 2243 into law which contained many similar provisions.