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How does early voting change really affect Arizona voters?

Posted at 5:17 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 18:53:01-04

PHOENIX — About one half hour after it passed through the State Senate on Tuesday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed SB1485 into law.

Registered voters in the state that are signed up to automatically receive an early ballot through the mail now must vote with an early ballot in at least one of Arizona’s two major statewide elections that are held every two years to continue automatically receiving a mail-in ballot.

If a voter fails to vote at least once in two consecutive election cycles, they will receive a notice from the county informing them that they will be removed from the early voter list. They then would have 90 days to respond to the notice, telling the county they wish to remain on the list.

Proponents of the new law, sponsored by Scottsdale Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, say that the bill is a common-sense election integrity bill that helps maintain the cleanliness of the rolls. Immediately after release, Ducey posted a video on social media saying the bill is “all about election integrity.”

He points out that voters removed from the early voting list this way are still eligible to vote and may still request a mail-in ballot, as well as re-sign up for the list.

Opponents of the law argue that it is a form of voter suppression that makes it that more difficult to vote for some groups in the population, such as seniors who have difficulty leaving the house and low income Arizonans who rely on the voting list, but may at times be unable to vote because of busy schedules or other issues.

Directly after the signing of SB1485, Representative Reginald Bolding, a Democrat from Phoenix, sent an open letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell calling SB1485 reprehensible.

SB1485 BY THE NUMBERS

Democratic political analyst Sam Almy crunched the numbers on who may have been impacted by SB1485 if it were in effect right now.

He found that 216,950 Arizonans, or about 5% of registered voters in the state would receive notice that they would be removed from the early voting list.

By party, about half the impacted people are Independents (47.5%). Democratic early voters were next at 30%, followed by Republicans at 22%.

The reason for the heavy tilt towards Independents and Democrats is that the law mostly impacts people under the age of 35 (44% of affected voters), who tend to lean more heavy Independent or Democratic.

KGUN 9's sister station, ABC15 independently verified these numbers using an in-house voter file.