Prop 309 would add new requirements for voting by mail and in person in Arizona

Sep 22, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 7:07 am
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)...
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

An initiative on the November ballot would make changes to the way Arizonans vote by mail and in person.

Proposition 309 would require voters to include either their state-issued ID number, such as a driver’s license or the last four digits of their social security number and their birthday on their mail-in ballot to prove their identity. Right now, only a signature is required.

“If you’re going to take advantage of mailing in your ballot, we do need to make sure you are you just as we do for those who go to the polls,” State Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Mesnard drafted legislation that got Prop 309 on the November ballot. He said the initiative would also help voters feel more confident about Arizona’s election system by requiring a photo ID to vote in person. Currently, voters with no photo ID can present two documents with their name and address.

Those who don’t have a photo ID would be able to get one for free under Prop 309. The $12 cost to get a non-operating identification card would be waived to individuals who request one for the purpose of voting.

“The truth is we want to make it easy to vote, and we also want to make it hard to cheat,” Mesnard said.

Opponents worry Prop 309 could turn away potential voters at the polls if they don’t have a valid, unexpired photo ID. This includes elderly voters with expired driver’s licenses who would no longer be able to use two other proofs of identity, such as a utility bill.

Alejandra Gomez, co-executive director of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), shares those concerns and added the ballot measure would create unnecessary steps for voters. She explained Arizonans already must show proof of citizenship and identification when they register to vote, as well as when they request an early ballot.

“It really is creating more burdensome-type and unnecessary requirements for one of the most basic rights, which is the right to vote,” Gomez told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

She’s also concerned about the personal information voters would have to provide on their mail-in ballot.

“How is this going to be maintained securely for voters to feel confident to vote?” she said.

Mail-in voting is the preferred method of voting for most Arizonans. In the 2020 general election, about 89% of ballots cast were early ballots. Gomez argued that percentage shows the vast majority of Arizonans trust the current system and feel that it’s well-established and secure.

Meanwhile, Mesnard said the changes Prop 309 proposes are only meant to make improvements to mail-in voting.

“What we should all agree on is that it needs to be a system that has integrity and security, because it’s no longer just a few folks voting this way,” he said. “It’s the vast majority of voters, and yet we don’t see the person actually filling out the ballot like you would at the polls.”

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Prop 309 would add new requirements for voting by mail and in person in Arizona