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I'll be live tweeting today's #AZLeg Judiciary Committee hearing where another @MichelleUgenti voter suppression bill will be heard. #SB1090 seems to be in retaliation to Maricopa County Recorder's decision to open Emergency Voting Centers the weekend before Election Day 2018. /1
You see, AZ has about a month of early voting. But, strangely, polling places are closed the weekend prior to Election Day. And, in fact, state Senators PASSED a bill just last session to allow for in person voting through & including the weekend prior to Election Day. /2
The state House, for whatever reason, decided the bi-partisan bill passed by the Senate wasn't worth their time so never took it up. Every County Recorder in the state supported the Senate passed bill. /3 #ThingsThatMatterAZ
Anyway, this year, Sen. Ugenti-Rita wants to do the exact opposite of last year's bill and restrict voting the weekend prior to Election Day by requiring voters who vote at an Emergency Voting Center to swear under penalty of perjury they have an emergency. /4
Voters are already restricted from using Emergency Voting Centers unless they have an emergency that'd prevent them from voting on Election Day. Approx 3,000 Maricopa County voters voted at Emergency Voting Centers in 2018. That's right, 3,000 out of more than 1.4 mil votes cast.
But, like her other 2 voter suppression bills, Sen. Ugenti-Rita's goal is to restrict access to the polls. The question is, why? Guess we'll find out when she testifies during the hearing. Follow this thread for live tweeting of the hearing to begin shortly. #VotingMattersAZ /6
I checked public comments on this bill this morning. Those AGAINST this bill vastly outnumber those for this bill. There are several county officials throughout the state opposing it. Will Sen Ugenti-Rita again dismiss the advice of those who actually administer our elections?
Sen. Ugenti-Rita testifying now. Like I said earlier, she’s doing this because the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office made Emergency Centers available for the first time.
She claims the MCRO’s process caused “concerns” and “confusion.” Not really sure who other than Republicans expressed “concern.”
Admits emergency is already defined in the statute and just wants to “reinforce” that. Per Ugenti-Rita, it’s no different than when you want to buy alcohol at a store and need to prove you’re 21. Apparently the RIGHT to vote is on par with buying alcohol.
@SenContreras asks why we don’t just transition to keeping Early Voting Centers open over the weekend. Ugenti-Rita: Well, you’re welcome to introduce that bill but that’s not what my bill is about.
@Dalessandro4AZ is concerned that this bill takes the decision of whether to & where Emergency Voting Centers are located from the County Recorder to the Board of Supervisors. How will the Board be able to deal with last minute complications that may occur?
Ugenti-Rita: Of course the Board of Supervisors can respond in an emergency! @SenQuezada29: By scheduling, notifying the public, and holding a public meeting? Ugenti-Rita: Of course they can respond accordingly! Duh.
Sen. Quezada: It seems to me you’re questioning whether the voters who votes at Emergency Voting Centers had actual emergencies. Ugenti-Rita: I’m just trying to reinforce statute & quantify who votes via emergency.
Ugenti-Rita: The voter will have some “skin in the game” by having to declare under penalty of perjury they have an emergency & define what that emergency is.
Quezada: What’s the purpose of requiring these affidavits? Will someone be able to challenge the vote cast at the Emergency Voting Center? Ugenti-Rita: I dunno. We’ll have to figure that out later.
Sen. Farnsworth trying to prop up Ugenti-Rita’s explanation by explaining he assumes poll workers will make a decision in the moment whether the voter’s stated reason constitutes an emergency.
Sen. Farnsworth mansplaining SB1090 on behalf of Ugenti-Rita to the other Senators. Says she’s not really changing the definition of emergency so let’s move on.
Contreras: Again, wouldn’t the easiest fix be just to convert Emergency Voting Centers to Early Voting Centers, this eliminating any confusion? Ugenti-Rita: That’s not my goal. (Note she said earlier her goal is to eliminate confusion...🤷🏻‍♀️)
Contreras discussing last year’s bill that basically converted Emergency Voting Centers to Early Voting Centers. Farnsworth: Fortunately, we had the good sense to kill that bill last year. (I think he’s being sarcastic. Hard to say.)
Jen Marsen, AZ Association of Counties: We’re opposed right now. Our greatest concern is the transfer of power from recorders to board of supervisors. Having the board make decisions RE voting without being required to consult with the experts worries us.
Marsen: Wondering why we’re going through the steps of requiring an affidavit for 4,028 voters (number of voters who votes via emergency voting centers in 2018).
In response to Contreras question, Marsen confirms Emergency Voting Centers have been used regularly by all counties in AZ for at least 20 years. Hasn’t previously gotten feedback that these voting centers cause confusion.
Next speaker (whose name I didn’t catch 😊): The affidavit would create a matter of public record. What do we do with it? Where do we store it? Could the info be abused? And who decides what constitutes an emergency?
Sen Gray: Why would this affidavit be considered a public record? Speaker: Ugenti-Rita’s bill doesn’t specify this is private so would automatically be considered public.
Ugenti-Rita: I’m willing to tweak the language RE whether affidavits would be considered public. (But she’s apparently not willing to address any of the other concerns.)
Quezada: The requirement of an affidavit will impact certain communities more than others. We know this and need to acknowledge placing another barrier in front of voters is unconscionable. We should be expanding the vote, not suppressing it.
Farnsworth: This bill isn’t about disenfranchising voters. This is about the integrity of the system. I normally don’t like to pass bills not ready for a final vote. Thinks the intent of the bill is ready (even though he agrees there are several issues with the bill). 🙄🙄🙄
#SB1090 passes out of committee on a party line vote.
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