A coalition of conservative organizations is working with Arizona Republican legislators to put the Arizonans for Voter ID Act on the ballot next fall. The initiative will require voter ID on mail-in ballots, improve existing in-person voter ID requirements, prevent ballot harvesting by enhancing voter ID requirements for in-person ballot drop-off, and provide a free voter ID option to lawfully registered Arizona voters who need it for voting.
Scot Mussi, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC), which is spearheading the initiative, said in a statement, “This initiative will ensure that no matter when you vote, where you vote, or how you vote, identification will be required.”
The AFEC added, “Arizonans use these forms of identification commonly in their everyday lives to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, obtain a driver’s license, board a commercial flight, donate blood, open a bank account, purchase a firearm, receive unemployment benefits, obtain auto insurance, purchase or rent a home, confirm identity over the phone, and many other basic transactions.”
The legislators held a press conference Tuesday announcing the initiative. The growing list of organizations behind the initiative includes the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Heritage Action, Honest Elections Project Action, Foundation for Government Accountability, the Goldwater Institute, the Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona, AMAC Action, EZAZ.org, and Arizona Women of Action.
The legislators pointed out that Arizona is one of nine states that has permanent vote-by-mail lists, making it extremely easy to vote, but Arizona is the only one that lacks meaningful restrictions to deter voter fraud. In the recent voter integrity case that Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and the Arizona Republican Party won at the U.S. Supreme Court, Brnovich v. DNC, Justice Samuel Alito noticed this: “[Arizona law] makes it quite easy for residents to vote.”
Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) refuted the criticism that the initiative is supposed to benefit Republicans. During his press conference speech, he cited a recent Data Orbital poll, which found that all Arizonans overwhelmingly support voter ID requirements. A majority from every major demographic — race, ethnicity, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents — support it, averaging 82 percent of likely Arizona voters. Another 63% want voter ID required for mail-in voting.
Nathan Duell of Heritage Action for America said during the press conference, “When a vote is illegitimately cast, which robs the citizen of their voice and their vote, that is true voter suppression.”
Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) explained that currently it is possible to vote without a photo ID. Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) pointed out that these laws are already in place in several other states.
Key changes in the Arizonans for Voter ID Act include having the county recorder verify the voter’s birthdate, which the voter will supply when returning their ballot, and requiring a second number with the ballot being returned that is either a driver’s license number, nonoperating ID number, the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security Number, or their voter ID number. Photo IDs that do not contain the address on the file for the voter must be accompanied by an additional identifying document such as a utility bill. Anyone mailing in or dropping off a ballot or voting in person must provide this information.
A May poll by the public affairs consulting group High Ground found that 78 percent of Arizona Republicans and 42 percent of all Arizonans believe there was significant fraud in the 2020 election. The Maricopa County ballot audit ordered by the Arizona Senate found 74,243 mail-in ballots that were found by auditors to have no record of ever being sent out, 18,000 voters who were scrubbed from the registration rolls after the election, and 4,000 who registered after the deadline. The official report is expected within the next couple of weeks.
The initiative is not actually being referred to the ballot by the legislators, however, so it will need 237,645 valid signatures by July 7, 2022 in order to be placed on the ballot. There are already five initiatives related to voting seeking to make the 2022 ballot.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at the Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “AZ Voter ID Press Conference” by Arizonans for Voter ID.