The 2020 election season is gearing up. That’s exciting for political junkies but not so much for many Pinal County residents who grow tired of being bombarded with messages. Unfortunately, it’s also the time when we see new reasons to regret the fact that Arizona’s founders saw fit to include the initiative process under which citizens (or out-of-staters) can put proposed laws on the ballot.
The latest reason for that feeling is an effort called the “Fair Elections Act,” which would substantially change the electoral process in the state. The focus is tied to the premise that voting is difficult and unfair to many people while some interests try to keep them from voting, which is not true at all. According to a draft of the proposal supported by left-leaning Arizona Advocacy Network and reported in The Arizona Republic, it would:
Allow voter registration at the polls.
Extend in-person early voting until the day before Election Day.
Raise corporate taxes and issue vouchers worth up to $50 to every registered voter to donate to candidates.
Allow mailing ballots until Election Day instead of requiring them to arrive by that day.
Create strong new rules for lobbyists, beyond what exist already.
Most elections have poor voter turnout, but that is due to apathy and even hostility to the political process, not difficulty in voting. Arizonans in the state’s early days worked longer hours and lacked many of today’s conveniences, but they still managed to vote. Polls are open for 13 hours yet many people take advantage of early voting and can use the mail to send their ballots in. However, many of those ballots still get taken to the polls at the last minute, causing days- or weeks-long processes for counting. Later deadlines would extend the count later into November.
Such efforts at “election reform” are mainly attempts to strike fear in citizens or otherwise manipulate their choices. This is a measure that does not deserve to receive 237,000-plus signatures to get on the ballot, and it is not the only election measure being proposed.