WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an unprecedented move to restrict vote by mail, Arizona Senate Republicans have proposed a bill that would require absentee ballots to be postmarked six days before Election Day in order to be counted. This means that any ballot mailed later than the Thursday before an election would be thrown out. So far, this is one of the most restrictive proposals for absentee ballot return rules in the country and would put unnecessary pressure on voters to meet this arbitrary postmark deadline.
Senate Bill 1593 would also shorten the number of days during which county clerks can begin mailing out absentee ballots, moving the start date back by five days. This move both limits the days in which voters can return their mail ballots, and places a heavier burden on county clerks, especially considering the significant increase in mail voting in the last election. If these trends continue, this move by Arizona Republicans would intentionally bog down an already overloaded system, leading to greater disenfranchisement of Arizonans.
The bill was slated for debate last Monday. However, Senate Republicans chose to postpone debate due to a lack of attendance by GOP committee members, signaling that S.B. 1593 will require significant party support to move forward. Debate will be rescheduled.