Political parties always worry about election law and procedure, which is natural because the parties live and die by that. Much of the rhetoric can be ignored, and any changes in the law should be considered carefully.

One proposal that deserves serious consideration is House Bill 2616, which would tighten rules for voter registration. It would make paying people to sign up registered voters illegal. It also would require turning in filled-out forms within 10 days. That is controversial with politicians, including office holders who carry the forms with them when campaigning. However, someone who registers has a right to have that form submitted, regardless of the party choice.

Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, who represents northern Pinal County, said there has been evidence of false names being submitted, apparently as a result of paid collection. And that is something everyone should be concerned about. Election fraud is not a big problem, but it could be, and some elections are really close.

The measure has passed the House, with all Republicans supporting it. The bill now is before the Senate.

Another bill would require identification when early ballots are taken to the polls instead of being mailed. That is not a bad idea either.

Meanwhile on the national scene, with Democrats still upset Donald Trump was elected and many candidates already in the 2020 race or ready to jump in, ideas are being floated to change elections and more. Some have advocated eliminating the Electoral College, which would make small states less relevant. Others would let those younger than 18 or non-citizens vote. Another idea would add justices to the U.S. Supreme Court to change its balance. This all may seem absurd, but non-citizens actually have voted in at least some states.

Perhaps HB 2616 will be amended to make it better. However, it has much merit. The right of Americans to choose their political leaders is fundamental to our country’s existence. Maintaining the integrity of those votes is not “voter suppression” or something inconsequential. It is crucial to the future of our democracy.

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