State Capitol News
9:19 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Arizona Lawmakers Attempting Repeal of State Voting Law

State lawmakers are moving to repeal major changes in voting laws made last year — and then reenacting at least some of them in a way to thwart a referendum drive. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

The Arizona State Capitol Phoenix.
Credit arizonaeducationnetwork.com

State lawmakers are moving to repeal major changes in voting laws made last year — and then reenacting at least some of them in a way to thwart a referendum drive. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

The legislation boosted signature requirements for minor parties to get candidates on the ballot, imposed stricter requirements on citizen groups sponsoring initiatives, and set up procedures to stop sending early ballots to voters who have not used them. Foes gathered more than enough signatures to put the law on hold and put the issue to voters in November. Now Rep. Eddie Farnsworth wants to repeal the law — effectively undoing the entire referendum. The move angered Robbie Sherwood, spokesman for the coalition that forced the law to the ballot.

“We think it is a cynical attempt to try to get around our referendum to do a repeal and come back piecemeal with the elements of the bill one at a time. We won’t take that lying down,” Sherwood said. 

Farnsworth conceded he does want to reenact some of what was in last year’s measure, like making the permanent early voting list a little less permanent. But, he said there’s no plan to just reenact everything once the referendum is dead.

“There’s no concerted nefarious attempt to try to do things, to circumvent what somebody might believe,” Farnsworth said.

If the repeal succeeds and some provisions are reenacted, foes need to start all over again with a new petition drive.