State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita running for Arizona secretary of state

May 27, 2021, 12:01 PM | Updated: May 28, 2021, 11:16 am
Arizona state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (Campaign Photo)...
Arizona state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (Campaign Photo)
(Campaign Photo)

PHOENIX – The Republican legislator behind the law to remove inactive voters from Arizona’s early voter list is setting her sights on the state’s top elections post.

Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita filed her 2022 statement of interest for secretary of state on Thursday morning, a step required before Arizona candidates can start collecting nominating petition signatures.

Ugenti-Rita reportedly missed Wednesday night’s Senate state budget debates. She instead appeared at an event she’d scheduled at McDowell Mountain Golf Club, where she announced her secretary of state aspirations.

The conservative Scottsdale lawmaker has a history of supporting election security policies that opponents say unnecessarily restrict access to voting.

“A significant part of my legislative career has been championing election safeguards to protect the integrity of Arizona’s elections,” Ugenti-Rita said in a statement emailed to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

“As the chair of the Elections Committee, I have successfully passed legislation to consolidate election dates, strengthen voter identification requirements at the polls, and update our vote by mail rolls.”

Most recently, Ugenti-Rita sponsored the bill to remove voters from the Permanent Early Voting List if they don’t vote early in consecutive election cycles. The legislation, which was signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this month, changed the name of the popular option to the Active Early Voting List.

While in the state House in 2016, she sponsored legislation banning ballot harvesting that is currently under review in the United States Supreme Court.

Ugenti-Rita is the fifth Republican to file a statement of interest for secretary of state. She and state Rep. Mark Finchem are the only candidates currently in office.

No Democrats have filed statements of interest.

Sitting Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, hasn’t announced her intentions for 2022 but is widely expected to run for governor.

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