Arizona Republicans Push New Laws to Limit Mail Voting

One bill would purge infrequent voters from an early voting list while others seek to add restrictions to mail ballots

Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

Arizona Republicans are proposing drastic changes to its mail voting systems, a move that echoes the flurry of election restrictions advanced in GOP-controlled legislatures in a number of states after former President Donald Trump's election loss.

Republican lawmakers in Arizona have introduced at least 22 restrictive bills, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. More than half the proposals address mail voting, with one particularly contentious bill seeking to kick infrequent voters off something called the Permanent Early Voting List, or PEVL. Arizona voters have been voting by mail for 30 years, while the GOP-led Legislature created the PEVL, which sends voters who have opted in ballots in the mail automatically, in 2007.

"We are seeing this as a full-on assault on voting rights and democratic institutions in Arizona," Emily Kirkland, executive director of the advocacy group Progress Arizona, said, arguing that the same state lawmakers advancing voting restrictions had spread Trump's lie of a stolen election. "This is part of a pattern."

Progress Arizona is one of several lobbying against the legislation, using everything from billboards to T-shirts to mobilize against bills it argues would make it harder for voters, and particularly voters of color, to register to vote and cast ballots by mail.

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