The headline on an article posted by Arizona Capitol Times is that Sen. Ugenti-Rita has a bill to force early ballot, also known as PEVL, recipients to return the ballots the same what they got them - by mail.  What a novel idea.

There are people who collect ballots in some areas of the state, like Maricopa and Pima counties, and haul them to mailboxes or to polling places on election day.  It's illegal now to carry a ballot for anyone except yourself and/or a family member.  Caregivers can also legally drop off ballots on election day.  Carrying dozens of ballots defies logic.  The idea of drop offs at polls on election day was that there are legitimate reasons for people who get early ballots approximately 28 days prior to the election to vote them late and drop them off at polling places.  Like all such legal matters, many people have found a way to skirt the intent of the law.  The harvesting law carries a penalty of fine and/or jail time because it is a Class V felony.  Documenting the illegal drop-offs is the problem.  Then enforcing it is another problem that we have seen law enforcement just isn't interested in pursuing.

Ugenti-Rita's bill, SB1046, is a good idea and forces people to mail ballots back.  Unexpected business travel or illness can be legitimate reasons for returning ballots on election day but we saw during the General election that thousands and thousands of voters with early ballots must have been sick or out of town that very day!  Doubtful.  Particularly when considering that in the past, we have reported that in some parts of metropolitan counties like Maricopa, ballot parties are held for the neighbors.  These parties require an unvoted ballot be presented at the door of the party along with a signed green envelope.  Partiers are then entertained with food, drink, dancing and more food and drink.  They never see their ballots again.  Someone else votes them and delivers them to the polling places by the box full.

The Arizona Capitol Times is on it.  They are already shooting this bill down by saying anyone who doesn't return their ballots by mail, just like they got them, would have to go to the polls on election day to vote a provisional ballot that would also have to be verified by County Recorders.  That, they claim, is not as safe a way to vote because some signatures are changed radically as people get older.  True.  But the mail is always there.  If someone can carry a ballot to the polls on election day, they could also carry it to a mailbox in their own neighborhood or hang it on a mailbox on the house for pickup.  Your signature is your ID, says Joel Edman on AZCapTimes.  Ugenti-Rita favors a speedy count over providing "ample opportunities for Arizonans to vote," said Edman.  Of course, that is ridiculous.  We treat adults like children now and that has led to many people skirting the law.  Adults who are intelligent enough to vote (yes, we know we are stretching that point a bit) should be intelligent enough to take responsibility for their own effort to get an early ballot.  Voting is NOT a right in America, it's a privilege.

If you are on the Request to Speak system at the legislature, it allows you to weigh in on bills from your computer at home.  It is a simple matter to sign up for Request to Speak at the legislature.  It must be done at the legislature one time with your name and an email address and a password.  It's the best way to influence bills by stating your opinion.  If you are on the system during hearings on these bills, the lawmakers get your comments in real time.  AFA posts updates on bills going through the legislature together with opinions as to whether it's a good or bad bill.  Jose Borrejero is in charge of that page here:

If you are a member of AZRA, you may be able to get signed up by an AZRA member already at the capitol.  Send email to to make a request to be signed up.  You will be verified on the AZRA member list.  You will be assigned a password that your can change when you first log in.  We, as citizens, must be involved in government. We, by and large, have abdicated that responsibility and we got the government we deserve.  NOW is the time to get involved and make your voice heard.  It takes very little time to log in and add your opinion on important bills and there will be a lot of bills regarding elections this session.

For learning how to use the RTS system, we will be posting instructions on the mail page where this article is posted:  Give us a couple of days to get that done.

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Replies to This Discussion

This is a good bill that makes perfect sense and complies with existing voting laws except for one sentence "mail your ballot".  I had endless conversations with PEVL voters in the last election that "HOLD ON TO THEIR BALLOTS AND TAKE THEM TO THE PRECINCT ON ELECTION DAY  BECAUSE THEY DONT TRUST THE POST OFFICE." They don't want to stand in lines, they like the convenience of being able to study the candidates/issues at their leisure  yada yada yada......  all ridiculous excuses.   

This bill needs to make it to the floor so pressure needs to be put on the committee chairs, leadership, and our individual representatives to co-sponsor, put it in committee and get it on the floor for a vote.  I, for one, want to know who would vote against this because the current process is rife for fraud. (as we know!!)

How many times does our government attempt to fix the unintended consequences of the prior fix that was intended to fix the unintended consequences of the prior fix that was required because the government created the problem in the first place . . . rather than identify the root cause and fix that?

What would the unintended consequences be where this bill is concerned??

I have no idea . . . but that's the point. This bill is aimed to fix the unintended consequences of what came before. To think there will be no further unintended consequences is rather shortsighted, don't you think?



My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
Thomas Jefferson



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