Arizona voters to decide on additional identification requirements for mail-in ballots
PHOENIX — Arizona voters in November will decide whether to require additional identification requirements for the state’s popular vote-by-mail system.
The Republican-controlled Arizona House on Monday joined the state Senate in approving the measure that would require the voter to provide date of birth and either their driver’s license number, the last four digits of their social security number or their voter ID number when submitting a mail-in ballot.
The system that is used by 90% of the state’s voters currently only requires a person to sign their name, which is then compared by county officials using signature matching to verify the identity of the voter.
Emily Kirkland, a voting rights activist with Progress Arizona, fears these new requirements could discourage Arizonans from voting and disenfranchise thousands of voters across the state.
“The concern is that we will see just so many Arizonans who are trying to participate and be part of the political process, who have been voting the same way, and all of the sudden see their ballots rejected because of these really burdensome and unnecessary new rules,” Kirkland said.
Kirkland stresses that a similar law passed in Texas has led to voter disenfranchisement.
“A really similar law in Texas in place right now has resulted in more than 30% of all ballots being rejected in many counties,” Kirkland said.
Kirkland added the requirement would also disproportionately affect tribal voters, people of color, young people, those with disabilities and seniors.
Republicans, meanwhile, contend the state’s voter ID laws leave room for fraud or illegal votes.
The bill also limits the type of acceptable identification to prove identity when voting in-person, as well as removing the ability for a person to vote at the polls if they do not have their identification to show two documents, like a tax or water bill, to prove they are the person on the voter rolls.
Verified voter rolls already confirm a person’s right to vote.
The Arizona Republican Party on Friday also filed a lawsuit asking the state’s Supreme Court to throw out absentee voting altogether, saying it’s unconstitutional.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.