Early voting is not new to Arizona and voters have been participating in democracy through early voting for the past two decades. However, the Arizona State Legislature is currently debating bills that will make it even harder for people with disabilities to vote early in Arizona.
Learn more about these potentially harmful bills below:
This bill requires that an early ballot missing signature be “cured” (corrected) by 7:00 PM on Election Day and would prohibit ballots with missing signatures from being counted if that deadline is not met. This is a problem because SB 1003 disproportionately impacts voters with disabilities who have difficulty signing their ballots and may use a mark that an election official determines is a “missing” signature. People with disabilities already face many barriers to voting in any election, as it can take additional days to arrange for transportation to a polling location. This bill will also make curing especially difficult for people on tribal lands due to the distances, transportation options, inconsistent at-home mail delivery, and telephonic/online communication challenges.
SB 1003 could cause the early ballot of a voter with a disability to not be counted if they are not able to connect with the election department to fix the issue by 7:00 PM on Election Day, instead of the voter being afforded the opportunity to cure their ballot by signature verification within five business days. Currently, Arizona law allows voters five business days to cure a verification problem with their ballot signature.
SB 1485 is designed to remove the “permanent” from Arizona’s popular Permanent Early Voting List, known as the “PEVL.” Currently, in Arizona, a voter who wishes to vote early by mail can sign up to be added to the PEVL, and then automatically receives a ballot by mail for each election for which they are eligible to vote. SB 1485 would purge any voter from their county’s PEVL if they do not vote by mail for two consecutive election cycles. Requiring voters to sign up again for the PEVL if they have been removed adds an extra hurdle to early voting. This change would disproportionately impact people with disabilities and those with other barriers to accessing the voting process.
This bill requires early voters to submit additional proof of identification with their voted early ballots, including an Arizona driver’s license number or other government-issued ID or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, or vehicle registration. This new voter ID hurdle to voting by mail unfairly impacts voters with disabilities, the elderly, communities of color, and voters in rural areas. Voters from these groups frequently have difficulty obtaining government-issued ID because they face barriers in travel required to reach offices that issue ID, or cannot obtain the underlying documents that are required to get a government-issued ID.
Contact your legislators to let them know your concerns about these bills. You can look up your representatives’ contact information by entering your address here: https://azredistricting.org/districtlocator/
You can also help by sharing your concerns on social media; be sure to tag (@) your representative in your posts!