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Group urges Arizona GOP to sign voting pledge

PHOENIX — Dozens of people gathered outside the state capitol Monday and called on Republican leaders to issue a guarantee about the future of HB 2305.

The bill was passed last year by the same GOP lawmakers who are now working to repeal it.

“Can you give us a confirmation that this repeal is genuine? That this is not in fact an attempt to circumvent the will of the voters?” asked Julie Erfle, chairwoman of the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee.

When Gov. Jan Brewer signed HB 2305 into law, opponents began gathering signatures to let voters decide in November to repeal it. HB 2305 calls for:

• Removing inactive voters from the Permanent Early Voters List.
• Banning groups or campaigns from collecting and delivering a voters’ early ballot.
• Imposing stricter legal standards on citizen initiatives.
• Increasing the number of signatures required for third-party candidates to appear on ballots.

During a Monday news conference, Libertarian Party Candidate Barry Hess said, “To attempt to win by exclusion is the lowest of the low, it is the cheatingest of the cheatingest.”

After the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee turned in signatures to get the issue on the ballot, Republicans in the House voted to repeal HB 2305, but the move isn’t enough to calm opponents.

“We believe that it is their intent to bring back these pieces one by one after the repeal,” said Erfle.

She and others want a pledge from House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Andy Biggs that the provisions will not be brought up again. The group stacked empty boxes in the hallways outside their offices to symbolize the amount of signatures they gathered to get the issue on the ballot.

KTAR requested a comment from House Republicans who voted to repeal HB 2305 and received the following statement from House Communications Specialist Christopher Leone:

“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get a statement from any members, but please note that Rep. Farnsworth, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, has said that he does not plan to do introduce any legislation this session related to HB 2035 also known as SB 1270. Please also note that Feb. 10, 2014 marked the last day for the introduction of bills; House Rule 8C.”