Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Legislature poised to stick thumb in the eye of Arizona voters

They had their chance. On June 13, 2013, the Arizona Legislature had the opportunity to show respect to voters. They blew it. They showed respect to Karl Rove instead.

Robbie Sherwood with ProgressNow Arizona issued the following release today about the latest mischief the Dominionists in the Arizona Legislature's Republican caucus are up to:

NEWS ALERT! House Committee to Vote on Repeal of HB2305

First Step in Effort to Circumvent Protect Your Right to Vote Referendum

PHOENIX -- The Legislature will attempt on Thursday to revive a massive effort to make it more difficult for Arizonans to vote in 2014, a plan that had been put on ice by a successful citizen’s referendum during the summer.
The Protect Your Right to Vote Committee referendum gathered over 146,000 signatures to put the omnibus House Bill 2305 – which would prevent tens of thousands of eligible voters from casting ballots if it becomes law – to a statewide vote in 2014. According to recent media reports, incumbent lawmakers bent on getting tough with voters intend to circumvent the referendum vote by first repealing HB2305, and then re-passing the various voter roadblocks as new individual bills this session. (emphasis mine)
Step one begins Thursday morning when the House Judiciary Committee hears House Bill 2196, which repeals last session’s HB2305. Judiciary Chairman Eddie Farnsworth, R-Mesa, is the sponsor of both bills. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in House Hearing Room 4, 1700 W. Washington Street.
“Repealing House Bill 2305 doesn’t mean that these politicians have suddenly seen the error of their ways,” said Julie Erfle, chairwoman of the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee. “It is clear that they will try to get tough on voters by passing the pieces as separate bills. This legislative dirty trick is a slap in the face to more than 146,000 Arizona voters who signed the Protect Your Right to Vote petitions, the majority of which were Republicans and independents.”
Erfle urged Arizona voters to attend the hearing or contact the Judiciary Committee members and tell them to respect the will of the people and vote no on Farnsworth’s bill. The Republican members (who are likely in favor of repealing HB2305) are:
Democratic committee members are:
“Although we oppose House Bill 2305, the voters of Arizona have earned the right to vote on this bill in November and we are confident they will reject it. The Legislature should leave it alone,” said Robbie Sherwood, executive director of ProgressNow Arizona and the spokesman for the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee. “What are these politicians afraid of? Once again this is an effort to limit the choices of voters by having politicians choose for them.”
  • HB2305 would make it a crime for volunteers to collect and drop off ballots at the polls. These efforts help elderly, homebound, disabled and working voters to participate in elections.
  • HB2305 would kick voters off the Permanent Early Voting List if they fail to vote in two consecutive elections – both primary and general. This would decrease participation and disproportionally impact newly registered Latino, young and Independent voters who are not likely to vote if removed from this list.
  • HB2305 would keep third parties off the ballot by raising the signature requirement to put a candidate on the ballot for all political parties except Republicans. Ballot access for third party candidates will become unlikely, reducing voter choice. For example, the number of signatures required for Libertarian candidates would increase by 4,000 percent.
  • HB2305 makes it more difficult for Arizona citizens to engage in direct democracy or overturn bad laws passed by the Legislature through citizen initiatives. By instituting a host of minor technical barriers – including the margin size on petitions – that can be challenged in court, politicians are trying to take away an important right that’s been part of Arizona’s constitution since statehood.
About the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee: The Committee is a coalition of more than 25 non-profit organizations working together to put HB2305 to a vote of the people. These include civic engagement organizations, Latino voter engagement groups, conservation organizations, animal welfare groups and labor organizations. It also includes leaders and members of the Libertarian, Green and Democratic parties.

Background on passage of HB2305 in June 2013:

The bi-partisan coalition that pushed the Medicaid restoration bill through to passage was poised to kill the voter suppression bill (HB2305). But national Republicans intervened. From Blog for Arizona, which quotes an Arizona Daily Star story,
There has been a lot of speculation and rumors about what caused three Republican Senators to flip their votes on reconsideration after voting to kill this bill. Howard Fischer offers his take:
     Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, said he got a call from Daniel Scarpinato, former press aide to state House Speaker Andy Tobin. Scarpinato now works for the NRCC in Washington.
     Scarpinato sidestepped questions of whether he was calling on behalf of the NRCC, saying he was "talking to friends of mine in Arizona." He also denied pressuring Pierce but would not detail what he did say.
     When the measure was resurrected, Pierce was a supporter. Pierce said he still had concerns about making it harder for minority party candidates to get on the ballot and making criminals out of those who take in someone else's ballot.
     But he said he also saw merits to other sections. And after other Republicans who he thought also were opposed went along, he saw no reason to be the lone GOP dissenter - and the cause for the bill's failure.
So it was former Arizona Daily Star political reporter and all-around prick Daniel Scarpinato who was responsible.

More than a week before the legislation session began, the Arizona Republic quoted Republican Maricopa County Recorder (chief county elections officer) Helen Purcell and Democratic Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez on the issue,
Don’t touch that! ... Advice to the Legislature from the folks who run voter registration in the state’s two largest counties: Let’s not repeat last year’s election bills.
After a knock-down drag-out fight in the first half of 2013 over election-law changes, the Legislature gave last-minute approval to a wide-ranging set of changes in House Bill 2305, which promptly sent opponents to the streets with petitions in hand to refer the matter to the ballot. Voters get to decide the issue in November.
Until then, Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said the Legislature should not try further changes. Her advice to lawmakers: If you do anything, just repeal HB 2305.
In Pima County, Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez said lawmakers should let the referendum play out.
There’s no indication that will be the case. Lawmakers wanted the changes so badly they cobbled together several disparate items — such as raising the signature requirement for third-party candidate petitions and dictating who can return a voter’s ballot — into one big bundle. Whether they’ll unbundle that and try again is one of the unanswered questions of the coming legislative session. (emphasis in original)

Less than a week and a half into the legislative session, the question has been answered. One of the bills (HB2107, link provided above) is sponsored only by our friend John Kavanagh.

1 comment:

  1. Time and time again, the Republicans in control of the Arizona Legislature have shown their disdain (if not outright hatred) for the voters of Arizona. Their concentrated attacks on the voter created Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. Their attacks on voter approved pre-ACA AHCCS (Medicaid). And now their attempts to rob the voters of the opportunity to overrule the Republican's anti-voter legislation, HB2305.

    When will the voters of Arizona say enough is enough and give the Democrats at least the opportunity at a majority in at least one Legislative chamber?