On Tuesday afternoon, Arizona Legislators announced The Arizonans for Voter ID act.
This ballot initiative will require all voters to have proof of registration regardless of how, when, or where their ballot is cast.
State Senator Warren Petersen, Senator J.D. Mesnard, Rep. Ben Toma, and Rep. Jake Hoffman, held a press conference and announced the new initiative at the Arizona State Capitol.
State Senator Mesnard told the crowd that this initiative would restore faith in our elections. In his eyes, the amount of people who do not even vote because they don’t trust the system is an “existential threat to Democracy, and if you ignore that, if you just dismiss that, that is a form of voter suppression.” He calls this a common-sense policy.
Senator Warren Petersen agreed that this is an “important common-sense step to restore voter confidence and election integrity.” He cited recent polls which show that a vast majority of Americans support voter ID. He referenced a number of states, including Georgia and Minnesota which require proof of identification to vote.
Petersen: Only eight other states have permanent vote by mail lists, similar to what we have here in Arizona. Every other state requires an application to be submitted before each election. Some even require a valid excuse in order to vote by mail. Those measures are much much, more restrictive than our system. Arizona will remain one of the most accessible states. Voters can vote in person on election day, early in-person beginning 27 days before the election, or by mail. But with this initiative, our elections will remain accessible but they will also increase election integrity.
When asked why they will not pass a bill in legislative session instead of a ballot initiative if the majority of the legislature was truly behind this, Hoffman said,
This is an issue that is more important than simply becoming statute. as we’ve found, statute can be changed at the whim. Whereas what the voters pass, is lock tight. it is lock solid and it should be the will of the people.
Conradson: Can you tell us about the new ballot initiative?Hoffman: The majority of voters want voter ID. They want universal voter ID, and quite honestly election integrity is the civil rights issue of our day. And so, to give voters confidence in the outcome of the elections, that means they have to have confidence in who’s voting and voter ID is one of the tried and true ways. 82% of Arizonans support it, and that includes 93% of Republicans, 83% of independents and 69% of Democrats. This is not a partisan issue. This is a common sense issue, and quite honestly we should have Democrats standing behind this too. We just know they won’t because they’d rather promulgate conspiracy theories than actually support the will of the peopleConradson: Who will be able to obtain a voter ID?
Hoffman: Everyone can get a voter ID. There are multiple forms that are outlined in this ballot initiative, and that are free to people. And so there is no issue with getting ID. It’s just a matter of prioritizing it in our election system, and ensuring that there’s security in that process.
Conradson: Will this initiative prevent illegal immigrants from voting?
Hoffman: It certainly won’t hurt. It will help, absolutely. I mean, look, there’s no reason that noncitizens should be voting in American elections. This is something that is the foundation of our republic and citizens are the ones that should determine our leaders, not noncitizens.
Conradson: To register for federal-only ballot you only need a name, birthday, address, and signature. What are you guys going to do about that?
Hoffman: well so that’s an issue stemming from a court case. The federal only ballot thankfully only is 11,000 ballots in the state of Arizona, or approximately 11,000. However, all voters regardless of whether you’re a federal only ballot or not, should show ID when they go to turn in a ballot or to vote day of, and this ballot initiative will require that.
Conradson: Is there anything the State Legislature can do to prevent people from being registered without proof of citizenship?
Hoffman: Well, because it stems from a court case that is something that, that has already been tried and unfortunately the federal only ballot stands. Right, wrong or indifferent, that is just the way it is. And so it’s, it’s our job to ensure that there is integrity in the election and integrity in the process, and integrity outcome of our elections.
As mentioned by State Senator Petersen, Only eight other states have permanent vote by mail lists, similar to what we have here in Arizona. The Arizona Voter Registration Form also says,
If you do not submit proof of citizenship and we cannot acquire your proof of citizenship from the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division or the statewide voter registration database, you will recieve a “federal-only” ballot, which has only federal races and no state, county or local races or initiatives/referendums.
To be added to the Permanent Early Voting List, one must only check a box that says “yes”. A registered voter may also request a ballot online.
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The only requirements to receive the federal-only ballot are a name, birthdate, address, a signature that affirms you are a citizen, over 18 years old and a non-felon, and possibly a bank statement.
Arizona had over 21,000 federal-only voters and this issue will need to be addressed at the federal level.
We cannot allow voter registration without proof of citizenship.
This initiative will surely help, but this is a serious issue that needs to stop immediately.
Citizens have concerns that a ballot initiative is useless without the election systems being secured first.
The Arizona audit is expected to restore election integrity in Arizona before the next election cycle.
This initiative will further confidence in our elections.
The same people who tell us that this is voter suppression are the same people who tell us that a full forensic audit is voter suppression.
They do not want us to have free and fair elections ever again.