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Some call Arizona election bills voter suppression, others argue integrity

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Several election-related bills were introduced into the Arizona Legislature following a turbulent 2020 election. Community organizations claim, if passed, the bills will suppress specific voters. Republicans disagree.

Paulette Zinzun, deputy legislative and policy director with the Arizona Advocacy Network, explained during a virtual panel discussion Tuesday that the bills “all create additional barriers to early voting and they are harmful to communities of color, to younger voters, to low-income voters.”

Among the criticized pieces of proposed legislation is SB 1713, which would require voters who cast a mail-in ballot to include a proof of identification affidavit to be returned inside the envelope.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. J.D. Mesnard, a Republican from Chandler, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that his bill and other GOP-backed election bills only aim to restore faith in the election process.

“We need to make sure people have confidence in the election, how it’s carried out, how votes are counted and ultimately – and most importantly – the outcome,” Mesnard said. “That’s what we’re seeking to achieve.”

Zinzun claimed the bills are a continuing effect of former President Donald Trump’s election fraud claims and an attempt at keeping Democrats, who out performed Republicans in early voting, from casting a ballot.

Several courts across the country and in Arizona found no evidence of irregularities in the election.

Mesnard, however, said the bills introduced tackle aspects that were not brought up in court challenges.

“A lot of the court issues had to do with standing, a lot of it had to do with issues that have nothing to do with whether or not our election has integrity,” he said.

SB 1713 passed the state senate and now awaits a vote in the state house before heading to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.

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