Arizona Gov. Ducey signs bill to purge some from early voter list

May 11, 2021, 2:01 PM | Updated: 3:41 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Kevin Stone)...
(KTAR News Photo/Kevin Stone)
(KTAR News Photo/Kevin Stone)

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill Tuesday that will purge Arizonans from the early voter list who don’t vote early over the course of two consecutive election cycles.

Senate Bill 1485 will remove voters who don’t return at least one early ballot over the course of two consecutive primary and general elections, or a total of four years.

About 75% of Arizona voters are on the list.

“Arizona is a national leader when it comes to election integrity and access to the ballot box and Senate Bill 1485 continues that legacy,” Ducey said in a press release. “In 1992, our state began offering the ability for Arizonans to vote an absentee ballot.

“Since then, Arizona has continuously improved and refined our election laws ⁠— including intuitively renaming ‘absentee’ voting to ‘early’ voting ⁠— and constantly seeking to strengthen the security and integrity of our elections.”

Eligible voters will receive a postcard asking if they still want to receive an early ballot.

County recorders can also reach voters by phone, text and email to elicit a response.

Voters will removed from the list, which is being renamed from the permanent early voting list to the active early voting list, after 90 days if there’s no response.

Democrats argue the bill would disenfranchise voters who expect to get a ballot that never arrives, with an especially strong impact on people of color.

Arizona Senate Democrats believe more than 120,000 voters will get removed from the list as a result of the bill.

“The priorities of this legislature are wrong and misguided and SB1485 is one of its most shameful examples,” Senate Democrats said in a statement. “We have one of the country’s best and robust vote by mail systems and yet the legislature is actively creating unnecessary hurdles for people to vote.

“These voter suppression bills are part of a broader, coordinated attack on voting rights and democratic norms.”

The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita.

It passed 16-14 on party lines.

There’s some ambiguity about when the bill that Ducey signed Tuesday would first affect elections. It was widely believed to apply to voters who skipped the 2018 and 2020 elections, but legislative lawyers said courts would most likely say voters can’t be purged unless they sit out 2022 and 2024.

“I am thankful to the governor and my colleagues for sticking to the facts of my legislation and ignoring the unfounded and inflammatory rhetoric of suppression to recognize the importance of maintaining an accurate voter list to protect the integrity of our elections by reducing the potential for fraud,” Ugenti-Rita.

“Standing with the voters and their desire for secure elections is paramount to maintaining our form of government. This bill is a modest, but critical step toward restoring confidence in our election system.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Arizona News

(Cave Creek Museum Photo)...

Cave Creek Museum to kick off 2021-2022 season this October

The Cave Creek Museum is set to kick off the 2021-2022 season this October with new collections, exhibits and special events, officials announced.
8 hours ago
(Photo courtesy of the city of Glendale)...
SuElen Rivera

Downtown Glendale launches mobile app to navigate city, benefit merchants

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce on Thursday launched a mobile app intended to help visitors in Downtown Glendale navigate around shops and merchants promote their products.
8 hours ago
Phoenix Fire Department photo...

Firefighters rescue injured hiker on South Mountain in helicopter

A man who fell six feet during his hike on South Mountain got transported via a helicopter to a local ambulance.
1 day ago
Near 12th Street and Northern Avenue, Phoenix. (Twitter Photo/@Crossfire923)...
SuElen Rivera

Parts of Valley sees light showers, more chances of rain this weekend

As monsoon season wraps up, parts of the Valley received some rain Friday evening heading into the weekend.
1 day ago
A woman gets a COVID-19 Pfizer booster shot in the "Im Lauesch" nursing home of Strasbourg, eastern...

Arizona reports 2,916 new COVID-19 cases, 69 more deaths Saturday

Arizona health officials on Saturday reported 2,916 new COVID-19 cases and 69 additional deaths from the disease.
1 day ago
Office Kyle Trouton (Peoria Police Department Photo)...
SuElen Rivera

Peoria police officer catches man who jumped from 2nd story of burning home

Police in Peoria said one of their own rescued a man who jumped from the balcony of a burning home.
1 day ago
Arizona Gov. Ducey signs bill to purge some from early voter list