A GOP-backed bill that would have imposed pointless and damaging new restrictions on early voting in Arizona has been defeated. In the state House, when the bill came up for a vote on Wednesday, 31 state Representatives voted against it, with only 29 voting in favor — meaning that, for now, it has been stopped in its tracks. Those 31 state Representatives who voted against the restrictive new voting guidelines included two Republicans. At present, the Arizona state House has a narrow Republican majority, with 31 Republicans and 29 Democrats.
— Dillon Rosenblatt (@DillonReedRose) May 26, 2021
The bill, as explained by the Maricopa County Democratic Party, would have required early votes to be submitted with personally identifying information including the voter’s date of birth and either their state ID/ driver’s license number, voter registration number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number. As Arizona state Rep. Reginald Bolding (D) — the Democratic leader in the Arizona state House — observed, making an error on just one digit would have put the entire vote in jeopardy, meaning that perfectly valid votes could have ended up getting excluded from final tallies on the basis of a technicality.
If you don't include this information or you mistakenly omit or miswrite a number. Your vote WOULD NOT COUNT. The only purpose of this bill is to make it much harder for eligible voters to vote. #SB1713
— Rep Reginald Bolding (@reginaldbolding) May 26, 2021
To be clear: at no point has anyone in Arizona or elsewhere discovered any meaningful evidence of systematic election fraud or security issues like what would warrant the changes that Arizona Republicans have proposed. In reality, implementing the changes that Republicans have put forward would make voting needlessly more difficult, especially for marginalized groups who, for instance, might not have a form of identification that would now be required. Elderly, low income, or otherwise potentially disadvantaged voters could suffer under new procedural hurdles.
In Arizona, there’s still another issue unfolding. In Maricopa County, Republicans from the state Senate have been leading an audit of the presidential election results from last year. During this effort, audit workers have (among other things) examined ballots under UV light to check for watermarks that conspiracy theorists have claimed were secretly placed on legitimate ballots by the Trump team to distinguish them from (imaginary) fraudulent ballots. In reality, federal authorities generally have no role in the production of ballots. Audit workers have also searched for bamboo fibers on the basis of the theory that fraudulent ballots may have been shipped in from Asia. Where do they come up with this stuff?