Paid and volunteer circulators are moving with a full head of steam into the final month of signature collection which will put the Arizona Fair Elections Act, one of the nation’s best voting laws, onto the November ballot.
This sweeping new voting rights law is up against the right-wing majority in the state Legislature which is still nursing more than 100 voter suppression bills.
This showdown was joined after Native voters in Arizona turned out to give the state’s electoral votes to Joe Biden and elected Mark Kelly to the U.S. Senate. Unable to believe their policies were at fault, the right decided the wrong kind of people were voting -- and they looked first at Native Americans.
This is not a new controversy in Arizona. Though the 14th Amendment gave voting rights to black men after the Civil War, Arizona kept Native Americans away from the ballot box for another 80 years by claiming that they were “not people.”
If you would like to volunteer, please contact us through this form secure.everyaction.com/... , . If you would like to contribute, please help us at ActBlue
Events are underway from the Utah state line down to the Mexican border and from the Colorado River to New Mexico to get the petition signatures. You can find a location to get petitions near you by looking at the map on our website. AZFairElections.com
Arizona’s Constitution allows citizens to propose laws by circulating petitions. The current requirement is just over 237,000 valid signatures, which must be turned in by July 7. I’m not the one who is empowered to give out official numbers on where the signature collection stands. I can say that we are on track and continuing to ramp up both the volunteer and paid circulator portions of the campaign. Recent fundraising success has given the paid circulators an additional spring in their step and volunteers are newly energized for the final push. I have confidence we will get this done.
The new law will reverse some past voter suppression measures, establish one of the best election laws in the country and protect voting rights into the future. Laws enacted through the Initiative process have a higher status than enactments of the Legislature.
One of the challenges in writing the Initiative was coming up with bullet-proof language so the Legislature cannot erode voting rights. For example, the new law says a valid signature on a mail ballot envelope is “sufficient” for the ballot to be counted. This precludes the Legislature from disqualifying that ballot by adding requirements like including a voter ID number, a photocopy of a driver’s license, a DNA sample from a great-great-grandmother or whatever wild hair is current in the Legislature. The Initiative similarly protects against new voter registration and ID requirements.
The new law allows for automatic registration in the driver’s license process, as well as same-day registration at the polls. It requires the Secretary of State to set up a program of automatic registration for high school students who will come of age before an election.
The proposed law has a number of defenses to ensure the state’s electoral votes are cast for the winner of the presidential election in the state. Arizona had been targeted in 2020 as one of the two states where stealing electoral votes would be easiest.
Arizona has a very secure election system and the Initiative will continue to make it stronger. Despite millions of dollars spent on a phony “audit,” no voter fraud was found in the state. One Republican woman attempted to cast the ballot of her dead mother, but she was caught.
Last weekend, volunteers were on the vast Navajo Reservation, which is half the size of North Carolina. Tribal members concerned with voting rights signed the petition, and a number of tribal members asked to circulate petitions. We have a month-long follow up underway involving Navajo, Hopi and Apache organizers.
I recently hired an Apache man to lead the outreach to Arizona’s other 20 tribes. Though smaller than the Navajo Nation, the members of the other tribes deserve the opportunity to stand up for their right to vote.
If you would like to help, please contribute at ActBlue or mail a check to Arizona Deserves Better, c/o Eric Kramer, 1910 Douglas Fir Dr., Pinetop, AZ 85935. To volunteer, go to secure.everyaction.com/... , .
We have one month left to save democracy in Arizona. Let’s give it everything we’ve got.