A bill introduced by Rep. Jake Hoffman, HB 2792, which will prevent county recorders from going rogue and sending out ballots to registered voters who did not request them, is one step closer to becoming law.
HB 2792, specifically prohibits a county recorder, city or town clerk or other election officer from delivering or mailing an early ballot to a person who has not requested an early ballot for that election, with certain exceptions. The bill classifies an election officer knowingly providing an early ballot to a person that did not request an early ballot for the election, with exceptions, as a class 5 felony.
“Arizona is one step closer to sending a clear message to activist county recorders that the people of this state don’t want you illegally interfering in our elections by unlawfully mailing early ballots to voters who don’t request one,” said Rep. Hoffman. “The security of our elections, for all voters regardless of Party, is too important to allow one or two rogue recorders to jeopardize it for everyone.”
HB2792 passed the Committee of the Whole in the Senate on Monday. It now only needs one more vote in the Senate to reach the governor’s desk.
In March 2020, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge granted the Arizona Attorney General’s Office’s request for a restraining order to stop Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes from illegally mailing out ballots for the Democratic Presidential Preference Election to voters who had not requested them. Fontes claimed that he was sending out last-minute ballots due to concerns about coronavirus.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, agreed with the Attorney General’s Office that there’s nothing in the law that allows Fontes, a Democrat, to do what he planned to do. Hoffman’s bill makes it clear that a Fontes-style mass mailing would be a violation of Arizona law.