By Daniel Stefanski |
If it wasn’t already apparent, the Republican-led Arizona Legislature and the state’s Democrat chief executive will not be coming together anytime soon on measures pertaining to election integrity.
On Wednesday, Senator J.D. Mesnard issued a press release to announce that Governor Katie Hobbs had vetoed a number of his bills “aimed at increasing voter confidence, convenience, transparency and timeliness of election results.”
The bills Mesnard was referring to were SB 1595, SB 1596, and SB 1598. SB 1595 would have “prescribed additional requirements for an early ballot to be counted and valid, required a voter to present valid identification by the prescribed days after an election for a ballot that was delivered by a voter’s agents or a voter who does not provide sufficient identification, removed the requirement that the period of early voting must end at 5:00pm on the Friday preceding the election, and deemed the early ballot of a voter who is issued an early ballot during the early voting period after confirming identification and stamped as ready for tabulating.”
SB 1596 would have “required a state, county, city, town or school district office to provide sufficient space for use as a polling place for an election when requested by the officer in charge of elections.”
SB 1598 would have “allowed a candidate for federal office to designate a representative who may act as an observer at a counting center and prescribed requirements relating to the conduct of party representatives, challengers and observers.”
Senator Mesnard released a statement in conjunction with his release, saying, “To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. Elections are becoming more chaotic and more controversial in Arizona with each passing cycle. We’ve seen it take weeks, sometimes more than a month, to count ballots and determine the winners of races. Following the last election, I heard more complaints across the political spectrum about the length of time it takes Arizona to finish counting than I did any other issue, and it’s a problem we can easily solve. Ignoring these problems is a complete disservice to our voters who are taking their precious time to exercise their civic duty. We can’t just kick the can down the road every year. My proposals were commonsense, practical to implement and would have made a real difference in tackling some of the issues voters continue to complain about. I look forward to trying again to provide impactful election reform next session.”
The governor didn’t have much to add in her veto letters for the three bills. For SB 1595, she wrote, “This bill fails to meaningfully address the real challenges facing Arizona voters.” For SB 1596, Hobbs explained: “This bill creates an unfunded and untenable mandate for schools and communities. This bill once had an appropriation, demonstrating that it needs funding to be viable. However, it was not included in the budget, and as such, I cannot support it.” And for SB 1598, Hobbs stated, “As it is not clear what problem this bill is attempting to address or if any such problem exists, I cannot support it.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.