WASHINGTON, D.C. — Since the 2022 Arizona legislative session began on Jan. 10, Republican lawmakers have introduced a slew of restrictive voting bills, including an omnibus bill that subverts nonpartisan election administration. House Bill 2596, introduced last Friday, would eliminate early voting, no-excuse mail-in voting (which the state has had since 1991) and emergency voting centers. H.B. 2596 would also ban the use of electronic voting machines and require all ballots to be counted by hand. The bill adds a new section to Arizona’s elections code titled “Legislative session; review; legislative election audit.” Critically, this new provision gives the partisan state Legislature the ultimate authority to “accept or reject the election results” and allow any elector to request a new election be held.
There are several other pieces of legislation already introduced by Republicans. For example, one bill would prohibit drop boxes and another would prohibit voting centers, locations in a given jurisdiction where voters can cast a ballot regardless of their residential address. Even though Arizona does not have same-day registration, a third bill would proactively forbid the practice and make violations by state agencies or administrators a felony.
The House Government and Elections Committee is set to consider several election-related bills tomorrow. In the opposite chamber, state Senate Republicans have already introduced several election bills of their own, notably a near ban on drop boxes and drive-thru voting. Republicans hold a narrow majority in both chambers of the Arizona Legislature and the governorship.