Arizona Democrats Push Election Overhaul: Mail-In, Harvested Ballots, Automatic Voter Registration

Arizona Democrats Push Election Overhaul: Mail-In, Harvested Ballots, Automatic Voter Registration

By Corinne Murdock |

One of the main agenda items for Arizona Democrats in the legislature appears to be major election reform.

Three bills introduced recently would check several of the boxes on the Biden Administration’s election reform checklist: allowing counties to conduct mail-in elections for all elections, lifting the prohibition on ballot harvesting, and establishing automatic voter registration for felons, respectively. None of the bills have appeared before a committee for consideration. 

The bill to expand mail-in elections, SB1149, was introduced by State Senator Sean Bowie (D-Chandler). There were seven cosponsors on the bill: State Senators Rosanna Gabaldon (D-Sahuarita), Sally Ann Gonzales (D-Tucson), Lisa Otondo (D-Yuma), Raquel Terán (D-Phoenix), and Diego Espinoza (D-Tolleson), along with State Representatives Jennifer Jermaine (D-Chandler), and Jennifer Pawlik (D-Chandler).

“A county may conduct a mail ballot election for any election administered by that county, including elections administered for federal and state offices and measures, and elections administered for that county and for a city, town, school district, or special district and for any other jurisdiction’s election administered by that county,” read the bill. “A countywide mail ballot election may be conducted only after a vote of approval by the county board of supervisors for that county and if sixty percent or more of the county’s registered voters are on the active early voting list prescribed by Section 16-544.”

Legalization of ballot harvesting, HB2094, was introduced by State Representative Athena Salman (D-Tempe), and gained six cosponsors: Andrés Cano (D-Tucson), Andrea Dalessandro (D-Sahuarita), Melody Hernandez (D-Tempe), Sarah Liguori (D-Phoenix), along with State Senators Juan Mendez (D-Tempe), and Terán.

The bill would strike all provisions related to intentional collection of voted or unvoted early ballots, and the class six felony that comes with that act.

The automatic voter registration legislation, HB2259, was introduced by State Senator Espinoza (D-) and gained Dalessandro and Solorio (D-) as cosponsors. The bill would automatically restore a felon’s right to vote upon conclusion of their probation or imprisonment. 

Legislature Republicans have responded in kind with their own legislation. In particular, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) introduced three pieces of legislation to prohibit same-day voter registration, HB2237; to prohibit unmonitored ballot drop boxes for early-voted ballots, HB2238; and to require voter registration forms to include a statement notifying the registrant that their registration will be canceled if they permanently move to another state after registering to vote in Arizona, HB2243. All three bills passed through the House Government and Elections Committee narrowly on Wednesday, 7-6. Minority Leader Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen), Alma Hernandez (D-Tucson), Lorenzo Sierra (D-Avondale), Christian Solorio (D-Phoenix), Jermaine, and Liguori voted against them. Judy Burges (R-Prescott), Frank Carroll (R-Sun City West), John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), Teresa Martinez (R-Oro Valley), Kevin Payne (R-Peoria), and John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) joined Hoffman in voting for his bills. 


Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Governor Ducey Orders Flags at Half-Staff for Fallen La Paz County Sergeant

Governor Ducey Orders Flags at Half-Staff for Fallen La Paz County Sergeant

By Corinne Murdock |

Flags will be lowered to half-staff for the fallen La Paz County sergeant, Michael Rudd, on Wednesday.

Rudd’s end-of-watch came Monday, after he was struck head-on by another vehicle while in pursuit of a suspect near the Arizona-California border. Rudd had been promoted to sergeant earlier this year in March.

Governor Doug Ducey issued the announcement later in the day, after Rudd’s passing. Rudd is one of three officers killed over the last few weeks. Maricopa County Deputy Juan Ruiz also died Monday, after being taken off life support following an assault last week. Ruiz was beaten unconscious on Saturday by a felony suspect he was jailing. Flags will be lowered to half-staff on Tuesday for Ruiz.

Last Monday, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Group Supervisor Michael Garbo was killed in a shooting in downtown Tucson.

Ducey noted that since the annual Arizona Peace Officers Memorial Service last month, a total of three law enforcement officers have died: Garbo, Ruiz, and Rudd. The memorial had honored 17 fallen officers.

“Arizona deeply mourns the loss of Sgt. Michael Rudd. For years, he protected the people of La Paz County and made Arizonans’ safety a top priority. I recently honored 17 fallen law enforcement professionals at the Peace Officers Memorial, and it was a sobering reminder of the danger these heroes face every day. Despite the danger, Sgt. Rudd wore the badge and worked hard to keep our communities safe. We will never forget his bravery, and our condolences are with his family, the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office, and the law enforcement community. I’ve ordered flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of his service.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Frustrated California Voters May Have Lost The Recall, But The War On Newsom Isn’t Over

Frustrated California Voters May Have Lost The Recall, But The War On Newsom Isn’t Over

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Frustrated California voters may have lost the battle to recall Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 14, but the war to unseat him in 2022 is just beginning.

Multiple outlets officially called the referendum on removing the governor a failure on Tuesday night, less than one hour after polls closed. Some California residents were stunned, but others said they are determined to use the power they amassed to create the recall to keep fighting to hold the governor accountable for his tyranny.