Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Signs Early Mail Voting Bill Into Law - What Does It Do?
Do you support or oppose Arizona’s early mail voting bill?
by Causes | 5.18.21
What’s the story?
- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed an election bill into law last week that reforms the Grand Canyon State’s early voting procedures for mail-in ballots. Proponents have called this law a common-sense reform to ensure voter rolls remain accurate and current, while its detractors have said it’s unnecessary and harmful to voters.
- Ducey explained the new law in a video message after signing it:
“This bill is simple ― it’s all about election integrity. If an individual is signed up to automatically be mailed an early ballot and then stops voting entirely for a full four years their county recorder will ask them if they still want to automatically be mailed a ballot. If they respond, they’ll continue receiving one. If they don’t respond, here’s what happens: They will remain a registered voter, they can still request an early ballot, and they can also show up at the polls in-person on Election Day.”
- Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) wrote a letter explaining her opposition to the bill and encouraging Ducey to veto it:
“This bill would end Arizona’s Permanent Early Voting List, a fixture of Arizona’s elections for over a decade. While some would try to portray this bill as cleaning up the voter rolls, it does no such thing. In fact, Arizona already has a process to ensure that voter registrations are current, a process that prevents truly inactive voters from receiving a ballot in the mail. Our current process works… and the changes proposed in this bill aren’t just unnecessary ― they’re detrimental to voters.”
- Here’s a look at what’s in the new law and how it compares to previous policy in Arizona:
What does the new Arizona election law do?
- The Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) is renamed the Active Early Voting List (AEVL) under the new law. The PEVL was first established in 2007, and Arizona has had early voting (previously known in the state as “absentee voting”) since 1993.
- If a voter who is currently on the AEVL actively votes by mail, they will continue to receive early ballots for elections in their jurisdiction.
- If a voter on the AEVL fails to return at least one early ballot by mail over a four year period ― including two consecutive primary and general elections, and any preceding municipal elections (which excludes those for special taxing districts) ― they will be sent a notice by their county recorder asking if they still want to receive an early ballot in future elections.
- The county recorder will be required to send such notices by mail on January 15th of each odd-number year to voters on the AEVL who didn’t vote an early ballot for the two previous election cycles as described above. If the county recorder has the voter’s email address and/or telephone number, they can also contact the voter by email, call, or text message.
- Notices will inform the voter that if they wish to remain on the AEVL, they must confirm in writing that they want to remain on the AEVL and return the completed notice to the county recorder or other official in charge of elections within 90 days of it being sent to the voter.
- No provisions in the new law alter the registration status of a voter who is removed from the AEVL, so if they don’t respond to the notice about their status on the AEVL and are removed from it they can still an early ballot at a later date prior to an election or vote in-person.
- The new law doesn’t apply retroactively to past elections, so voters who are on the AEVL (previously known as the PEVL) but don’t use their early ballot will remain on the list for the next two election cycles with statewide general elections. That means the first notices to voters on the AEVL who didn’t vote early in the prior two election cycles won’t be sent until 2025.
— Eric Revell
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