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Arizona House passes bill that would allow police at polling stations

(Facebook photo/City of Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX — Police at the polls?

It could be allowed in Arizona after House lawmakers passed HB-2268 31-29 along party lines. The state Senate will consider the bill next.

Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh recalled his experience seeing police monitor polling locations in New York City “to make sure there’s no disruption.”

He claimed police presence was necessary “to make sure that no one was trying to intimidate voters, as would sometimes happen.”

Democrats like House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez argue the opposite would happen, accusing Republicans of making it harder for voters to cast their ballots.

“I can’t wait until we get to the day when we open that door where people that live in this state — and are citizens of this country — can vote freely in our elections, with no fear of being arrested, or pointed out, or being investigated,” she said.

Democratic state Rep. Isela Blanc says the legislation would hinder certain voters, including minorities.

“The real threat to elections — our democracy — is an electorate that is younger, more educated, women, and communities of color,” she said.

The bill also creates a hotline for the attorney general’s office to investigate voter fraud, which Democratic state Rep. Diego Rodriguez considers unnecessary.

“We did not hear any testimony saying there was rampant voter fraud in the state of Arizona,” he said.

“Numerous county recorders continuously testified about the integrity of our elections, and about their dedicated employees.”

Democratic state Rep. Athena Salman claims the hotline would embolden fraudsters “to go to the precincts and file frivolous, unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud or election irregularities.”

The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Kelly Townsend, disagrees.

“This doesn’t chill voter effect,” she insisted.

“It increases confidence, which then brings people to the polls.”

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