Arizona voters received a big win yesterday. The State Senate passed HB2492 less than a month after the House did the same. And now this critical bill heads to Governor Ducey’s desk to be signed into state law.
This is a big win toward restoring the integrity of Arizona’s elections. HB2492 will safeguard our state’s voter rolls and ensure only U.S. citizens are voting in our elections. You would think this sort of legislation is something everyone could get behind. But apparently, the Democrats have a vested interest in allowing non-citizens to vote in our elections.
That’s why they’ve been spreading lies about HB2492 for months.
Two weeks ago, we outlined the history of the federal only voter list. As a summary, in 2004 Arizona voters approved Prop 200 which required county recorders to reject any application for registration that did not include Documentary Proof of Citizenship (DPOC). After passage, Arizona did reject applications without DPOC—those made on both the state voter registration form and federal voter registration form established by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) in 1993.
In 2014, Arizona began accepting federal voter registration forms that did not include DPOC and registering voters as “Federal Only Voters” eligible to vote for President, U.S House, and U.S. Senate following the 7-2 Supreme Court decision, Inter Tribal Council, deciding that the NVRA preempts Prop 200’s DPOC requirement.
Then, in 2019, Arizona began accepting all applications for registration that did not include DPOC after Secretary of State Michelle Reagan and Maricopa Recorder Adrian Fontes entered into a consent decree with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) agreeing that the state could accept applications for registration without DPOC and somehow stay in compliance with the Prop 200 requirement to the contrary – to reject them.
HB2492 tackles this complicated issue with five main provisions.
This week, the House Government Committee narrowly passed two bills to further secure elections. HB2236 would prohibit automatic voter registration, and HB2241 would require anyone dropping off an early ballot to either show their ID or sign that they have permission to do so for the individual who completed the ballot; it’s a class six felony if they refuse. State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) introduced both bills, securing passage along party lines, 7-6.
Minority Leader Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen) insisted that the bills were “anti-voter.” Bolding is running for secretary of state; his major platform points include the fact that he’s running against former President Donald Trump’s pick for the position and that he’d be Arizona’s first black secretary of state, two qualities that bear striking similarities to President Joe Biden’s must-haves for his next Supreme Court pick.
House and Senate Republicans’ attempts to further secure elections over the past few years have caused controversy with left-leaning communities.
This week, over 200 “faith leaders” issued a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to relocate the next Super Bowl from Arizona over the state’s “disease of racism, and, particularly, its symptom of voter suppression.” They cited bills passed last year: SB1003, which requires voters to rectify their signature by 7 pm on election night; SB1485, which cleans up the early voters list; and SB1819, which formed a special committee on the election audit. That final bill, SB1819, was overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court due to violations of the state constitution’s single subject rule.
As another reason for moving the Super Bowl away from Arizona, the group cited Senator Krysten Sinema’s (D-AZ) opposition to the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. Sinema refused to support the legislation because doing so would have scrapped the filibuster. Unlike Sinema, Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) came out in support of ending the filibuster to pass the legislation to federalize elections.
Although the individuals signed onto the letter identified themselves as faith leaders, it is unclear whether they claim to be faith leaders in relation to the Christian Bible considering the nature of their doctrines.
If the NFL remains consistent with their decision-making, it’s unlikely that this latest letter will have any influence on Arizona hosting the next Superbowl. Last May, Bolding made the exact same demands of Goodell in a letter of his own, even hearkening back to the state’s historic refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which the NFL ignored.
For a long time, school board elections have been one of the easiest to ignore. Maybe it’s because the names on the ballot don’t stand out as much as the candidates for President, Governor, or U.S. Senate. Maybe it’s because people are too busy to research the candidates. Or maybe it’s because voters who don’t have kids—or whose kids are not in public school—don’t see how school board elections can affect them.
But if 2021 has taught us anything, it’s that even the smallest election has consequences. And nowhere has that been more obvious than with the leftist agendas that have taken over Arizona’s school districts this past year.
In 1952, Dwight Eisenhower announced he was a Republican 10 months before the general election. In June, he resigned his military office to devote full time to his presidential campaign.
Adlai Stevenson was already a Democrat by 1952 but resisted multiple efforts by Democrat partisans to nominate him as their candidate. After his stirring speech at the convention that summer, they did so anyway. Three months later, a president (Eisenhower) was duly elected.
Modest candidates and brief campaigns are now in our receding past. The 2020 presidential race lasted 1,194 days after the first candidate declared. The 2024 election, for practical purposes, started immediately after the previous election. Fully three years out, news and opinion outlets are brimming with the latest poll numbers, candidate statements, and expert speculation.
No other nation subjects itself to such an exhausting ordeal. Elections in Canada, the UK, and Australia all last about six weeks. In Japan, they get it done in 12 days.
Admittedly, these are parliamentary systems where elections are triggered by political events, but France gives candidates just six months to qualify for the second-tier ballot, then two weeks to campaign in the finals.
American campaigns weren’t always ultramarathons. Warren Harding, for example, announced his candidacy 321 days before the 1920 election. Most American presidential candidates operated under a similar timeline.
The “modern” era began with the contentious 1968 Democrat convention when the party rank-and-file wrested control from the smoke-filled rooms, and the popular primary system was established. In 1976, the obscure Jimmy Carter was able to build momentum in the primaries by campaigning early. Ambitious politicians ever since have taken note.
But super-long campaigns have consequences, most of them undesirable. The most obvious is that length favors deep pockets, the ability to finance a years-long, money draining effort.
Few candidates can self-fund. Instead, they have to spend immense amounts of time and do a lot of promising to raise the many millions required for the campaign. Many political leaders are distracted from their duties by the minutiae of campaigning.
Never-ending campaigns simultaneously exhaust and entrance voters. Competitions are naturally interesting and easy to understand. It’s simple and inexpensive for the media to churn out horse-race stories, so NATO, supply chains, and housing policy get short shrift while mountains of articles are written about the prospects of the candidates far in the future.
It has long been a truism that more challenging, risky issues are harder to tackle in an election year. But if every year is effectively an election year, then it’s never the right time for heavy lifting.
Instead, governing in the midst of a campaign creates constant pressure to “do something,” so that politicians appear active and effective. Populist policies and handouts which favor the growth of government are thought to attract voters. Moderation and fiscal restraint don’t sell well, so they are kicked to the curb.
The Build Back Better bill was the perfect campaign legislation, something for everyone. No wonder Democrats are panicked over the electoral consequences of its possible failure.
But long campaign seasons also have their clear winners. Potential candidates are already dropping by Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which happen to be crucial early primary states just to, you know, see how the folks are doing.
These states fiercely protect their primary position and with good reason. Iowa particularly has successfully exploited the candidates’ need to ingratiate themselves into the long-term protection of ethanol mandates, regulations and subsidies. It’s foolish policy with no environmental or other benefit except to corn farmers and producers, another result of our long and complicated presidential elections.
Compared with other countries, the U.S. has a short presidential term and an unusually long election process. This near constant turnover lengthens the period in which we are vulnerable to foreign actors exploiting us for their benefit.
Other democracies have laws which limit elections. Exactly nobody is clamoring for longer elections in those countries. Still, politicians are unlikely to reform their own system.
In the absence of other options to rid ourselves of these expensive, dysfunctional election campaigns, maybe we should take a look.