Governor Jan Brewer signed an elections bill into law that fixes things that never really seemed to be broken.
Brewer's signature on House Bill 2305 will help keep third-party candidates off ballots, will help prevent people from getting early-voting ballots, and bans political groups from picking up early-voting ballots from people and dropping them off with elections officials.
This bill did not contain these provisions until a few days ago, and since they're all packed into the same bill that was approved by Brewer, it certainly creates the impression that the Republican legislators who passed the bill are attempting to protect fellow Republicans.
Check out some of these provisions:
3. If for a candidate for the office of member of the Legislature, by a number of qualified electors who are qualified to vote for the candidate whose nomination petition they are signing equal to at least ONE-THIRD OF one per cent but not more than three per cent of the total voter registration
of the party designatedin the district from which the member of the legislature may be elected.
So, if you wanted to be the Libertarian candidate for the state senator in Legislative District 13 in 2012, you would've needed six signatures from the district's 507 Libertarian voters. If this were the law then, a Libertarian hopeful would have needed 319 signatures from any of the district's 95,688 registered voters.
The law doesn't change the number of signatures needed in county races.
Then there's this one, about the permanent early-voting list:
L. NOTWITHSTANDING SUBSECTION K OF THIS SECTION, BY DECEMBER 1 OF EACH EVEN-NUMBERED YEAR, THE COUNTY RECORDER OR OTHER OFFICER IN CHARGE OF ELECTIONS MAY SEND A NOTICE TO EACH VOTER WHO IS ON THE PERMANENT EARLY VOTING LIST AND WHO DID NOT VOTE AN EARLY BALLOT IN BOTH THE PRIMARY ELECTION AND THE GENERAL ELECTION FOR THE TWO MOST RECENT GENERAL ELECTIONS FOR FEDERAL OFFICE, UNLESS THE VOTER HAD CONTACTED THE COUNTY RECORDER IN THE IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING TWENTY-FOUR MONTHS TO REAFFIRM THE VOTER'S INTENT TO REMAIN ON THE PERMANENT EARLY VOTING LIST.
So, if you don't vote often enough, you're off the early-voting list.
Then there's this curious bit:
. . . NO EARLY BALLOT SHALL BE COLLECTED OR RETURNED BY EITHER OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. ANY PAID OR VOLUNTEER WORKER OF ANY POLITICAL COMMITTEE AS DEFINED IN SECTION 16-901. A PRECINCT COMMITTEEMAN IS NOT PRESUMED TO BE ACTING ON BEHALF OF A POLITICAL COMMITTEE UNLESS AN AGENT OF THE POLITICAL COMMITTEE OR PARTY HAS DIRECTED PRECINCT COMMITTEEMEN TO COLLECT OR RETURN EARLY BALLOTS.
2. ANY OTHER GROUP OR ORGANIZATION ON WHOSE BEHALF AN INDIVIDUAL IS DIRECTED TO COLLECT OR RETURN THE BALLOT.
Gee, you may have noticed that it was Latino lefties who were collecting folks' early ballots last year. Volunteers with groups like Citizens for a Better Arizona collected ballots in their efforts to defeat Russell Pearce in his comeback, and during what proved to be Sheriff Joe Arpaio's re-election.
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"Most of these are what we call 'garbage ballots,'" CBA co-founder Randy Parraz told our colleague Stephen Lemons last year. "That means they were just sitting in someone's house, ready to be tossed in the garbage."
Now it's a crime to make sure someone's vote counts, using this method.
Click here to read the bill.