As the Initiative to put the Arizona Fair Elections Act on the November ballot continues to gain momentum, it’s good to know there is a lot in there to address past attempts at voter suppression, provide Arizona with one of the best election laws in the country and protect Democracy into the future.
One of the provisions slaps back hard at state Attorney General Mark Brnovich for his ugly attempt to double-cross the voters of the Navajo Nation. Though unloved by Trump, Brnovich is doing everything he can to toady up to the former president in hopes of getting an endorsement for the Arizona U.S. Senate race.
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In casting aside any shred of dignity or self-respect, Brnovich has been doing everything he can to mess up Arizona’s elections and aid the loony stop-the-steal mob in their attempts to suppress the vote.
The story of Brnovich vs. The Navajo Nation started with a lawsuit the Tribe filed against the State of Arizona. The Navajos complained in their suit that Arizona did not give voters a chance to “cure” their ballots if a signature was missing on a mail-in ballot envelope.
The state, led by Secretary of State Katy Hobbs, settled the suit in federal court, promising to give voters five business days to provide missing signatures, or otherwise prove that they had legally cast the ballot in question. The federal judge accepted the settlement.
Brnovich, desperate for far-right brownie points, petulantly refused to allow the settlement to be written into the official Elections Procedures Manual. It’s one of a number of instances when Brnovich has shown questionable legal ethics, and even almost a total lack of knowledge about any of the basic stuff a lawyer is supposed to do.
The good news is that the Arizona Fair Election Initiative writes the settlement with the Navajo Nation into law, and when it passes in November, will allow five days to “cure” missing signatures.
This point is fairly minor compared to such features of the Arizona Fair Elections Act as automatic voter registration, election-day registration, expansion of early voting, protection for mail voting, clamping down on lobbyists and fixing campaign finance. Also, the Initiative blocks the Legislature from stealing the state’s electoral votes.
The campaign supporting the initiative has really ramped up with paid and volunteer circulators working toward obtaining twice the needed 243,000 signatures by the July 7 deadline. First-quarter campaign finance reports are due on Friday and should go a long way toward enhancing the credibility of this Initiative.
Though there are a host of proposed bills in the Legislature to mess with voting, the Arizona Fair Elections Act would negate most of them (or at least any that are passed before the Legislature adjourns).
The latest outrage, a demand that people registered before 2004, “show their papers,” would be overturned by the Initiative. Arizona is the only state in the nation that requires proof of citizenship for voters. (Voters registered before 2004 were an exception until right-wing legislators messed up their drafting of a new statute.)
With the Initiative, the general proof of citizenship will remain in effect but the inconvenience to voters will be greatly reduced by the Initiative which makes more birth certificate data available to election officials for instant validation of citizenship.
If you would like to help us, you can donate at secure.actblue.com/... . If you would rather send a check, you can reach me at Arizona Deserves Better, c/o Eric Kramer, 1910 Douglas Fir Dr., Pinetop, AZ 85935. Visit one of our 60 signing locations on our map at AZFairElections.org or volunteer at secure.everyaction.com/...
In addition to the Arizona Fair Elections Act, the November ballot in Arizona will include a measure to Stop Dark Money. Every campaign contribution will have to be traced back to its original source. And Healthcare Rising is placing an important measure on the ballot as well. It protects against predatory debt collection after people experience high medical bills. (Current Arizona law allows recovering patients to keep something like $300.)