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Arizona Senate advances bill that would limit mail-in ballot system

(AP Photo/Ryan Van Velzer)

PHOENIX – A bill that would put limits on Arizona’s mail-in ballot system advanced to the next stage in the Senate in a voice vote Wednesday, with the Republican majority prevailing.

The Senate must still hold a final vote on SB 1046 before it would go to the House. If the House approves the bill and Gov. Doug Ducey signs it, people on the permanent early voter list would no longer be allowed to drop off their completed ballots at polling stations on Election Day.

Instead, they would have to vote via provisional ballot in person on Election Day if they don’t get their ballots in the mail by the deadline.

Those opposing the bill said the changes would make voting more difficult for some and reduce turnout.

Supporters argued that it would speed up election results. They also disputed the notion that it would prevent anybody from voting.

Republicans have 17-13 advantage in the Senate.

More than 200,000 Arizona voters dropped off their ballots at the polls during the November 2018 midterm election.

All of the state’s votes weren’t counted until 13 days after Election Day.

During the debate before Wednesday’s vote, Democratic Sen. Rebecca Rios pointed out that the state’s county recorders, the officials in charge of elections, all opposed the bill.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly implied the Senate had passed the bill.

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