Arizona GOP Officially Done With People Voting Against Republicans
Arizona Republicans have spent the past couple weeks since the legislative session began introducing a red wave of voter suppression measures. House Bill 2596, which dropped Friday, would eliminate all early voting, emergency voting centers, and no-excuse mail-in voting. The latter has existed in Arizona since 1991, so longer than the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The House bill would also ban the use of electronic voting machines and require that all ballots are counted by human hands. You might think that would take forever, but they’ll have 24 hours to do it!
Republicans had traditionally held the advantage in ballots cast prior to Election Day. That changed in 2020, so obviously early voting is corrupt and must end. GOP Rep. Shawna Bolick proposed the measure that would only permit emergency voting in "times of war, civil unrest or a natural disaster.” These are obviously the only real emergencies that would prevent someone from voting on Election Day. In real America, emergency voting centers are only for upcoming hurricanes and nuclear wars.
Some of the Republicans who sponsored this bill also reportedly supported and even cheered the Arizona fraudit. A total of seven bills passed out of committee along party lines. State Sen. Wendy Rogers (a QAnon bigot) filed a bill that would prohibit drop boxes with only the most narrow exception for voters with disabilities. Arizonians shouldn’t have to disclose their disability status, and the lack of early voting might make the lines on Election Day a burden even for those who don’t fit Rogers’ likely narrow definition of “disabled."
VOTER SUPPRESSION: Stupid Arizona QAnon Idiot Has Racist Thing To Say About Virginia Elections
Another bill would would get rid of voting centers, where Arizonians can cast a ballot regardless of their residential address. This is another burden for voters who work far away from where they live. It could conceivably take your entire lunch break to get to your polling place and back, even if there wasn’t a line around the block.
Arizona already doesn’t have same-day or automatic voter registration but a bill would proactively ban the practice. The most honest voting is the hardest! However, Arizona Republicans would make it easier to trigger automatic recounts for elections. This arguably helps create confusion and provide further baseless grounds for contesting results.
Examining paper ballots was a target of the Maricopa County review. Officials said they were looking for watermarks on ballots, a feature that didn't exist, and bamboo fibers in paper - and a report claimed there were 10 different types of paper used. Maricopa County asserted in its rebuttal that one type of paper was used "for every ballot" and "all paper was of sufficient thickness to prevent the printing from being discernible on the opposite side."
But the most concerning element of HB 2596 is the addition to the elections code titled “Legislative session; review; legislative election audit.” This would give the GOP-controlled legislature the ultimate authority to “accept or reject the election results” and allow any elector to request a new election be held. Yeah, Senator Mark Kelly and President Joe Biden ain’t winning shit again in Arizona. Ironically, neither would the GOP’s bestie Kyrsten Sinema even if she survives a primary challenge. You’ll recall that Republican Martha McSally ended election night 2018 with a clear lead that steadily dwindled over the next few days as ballots were counted. We don’t live in a nation now where a Republican would concede defeat under these circumstances, even if Sinema doesn’t recognize the obvious reality.
After all, where is the Senate’s most useless Democrat? She’s
at home washing her tights tweeting out random factoids as democracy collapses in her backyard. No speeches on the Senate floor about how Republicans in her own state are making it harder for her constituents to vote. That apparently isn’t self-serving enough. However, she’ll let Arizonans know its National Blood Donor Month or International Day of Education. She’s not much of a senator but she’s a great “On This Day” calendar.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."