Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
In the wee hours of the 2013 session of the Arizona Legislature, Republican legislators cobbled together several voter suppression initiatives that had gone no where and passed them (at the urging of House Speaker John Boehner) as an omnibus voter suppression bill (HB2305).
During the summer, outraged Arizonans collected 145,000 signatures to halt implementation of HB2305 until the people voted on it in 2014.
Hell bent on
cheating their way into office … er… voter suppression, a group of legislators now wants to circumvent a statewide vote on HB2305 by repealing HB2305 and re-introducing its component parts for potential passage in the 2014 session.
Below is a press release from the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee. It’s time to make some phone calls and tell your representatives that if they want to pass a voter initiative it should be a bill that guarantees the right to vote– not a set of bills that will deny citizens their rights.
NEWS ALERT! House Committee to Vote on Repeal of HB2305
First Step in Effort to Circumvent Protect Your Right to Vote Referendum
PHOENIX — The Legislature will attempt on Thursday to revive a massive effort to make it more difficult for Arizonans to vote in 2014, a plan that had been put on ice by a successful citizen’s referendum during the summer.
The Protect Your Right to Vote Committee referendum gathered over 146,000 signatures to put the omnibus House Bill 2305 – which would prevent tens of thousands of eligible voters from casting ballots if it becomes law – to a statewide vote in 2014. According to recent media reports, incumbent lawmakers bent on getting tough with voters intend to circumvent the referendum vote by first repealing HB2305, and then re-passing the various voter roadblocks as new individual bills this session.
Step one begins Thursday morning when the House Judiciary Committee hears House Bill 2196, which repeals last session’s HB2305. Judiciary Chairman Eddie Farnsworth, R-Mesa, is the sponsor of both bills. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in House Hearing Room 4, 1700 W. Washington Street.
“Repealing House Bill 2305 doesn’t mean that these politicians have suddenly seen the error of their ways,” said Julie Erfle, chairwoman of the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee. “It is clear that they will try to get tough on voters by passing the pieces as separate bills. This legislative dirty trick is a slap in the face to more than 146,000 Arizona voters who signed the Protect Your Right to Vote petitions, the majority of which were Republicans and independents.”
Erfle urged Arizona voters to attend the hearing or contact the Judiciary Committee members and tell them to respect the will of the people and vote no on Farnsworth’s bill. The Republican members (who are likely in favor of repealing HB2305) are:
- Chairman Eddie Farnsworth, (602) 926-5735
- Vice-Chairman Justin Pierce, (602) 926-5495
- Rep. Ethan Orr, (602) 926-3235
- Rep. John Allen, (602) 926-4916
- Rep. Doris Goodale, (602) 926-5408
Democratic committee members are:
- Rep. Lupe Chavira Contreras, (602) 926-5284
- Rep. Albert Hale, (602) 926-4323
- Rep. Martín J. Quezada, (602) 926-5911
“Although we oppose House Bill 2305, the voters of Arizona have earned the right to vote on this bill in November and we are confident they will reject it. The Legislature should leave it alone,” said Robbie Sherwood, executive director of ProgressNow Arizona and the spokesman for the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee. “What are these politicians afraid of? Once again this is an effort to limit the choices of voters by having politicians choose for them.”
BACKGROUND ON HB 2305:
- HB2305 would make it a crime for volunteers to collect and drop off ballots at the polls. These efforts help elderly, homebound, disabled and working voters to participate in elections.
- HB2305 would kick voters off the Permanent Early Voting List if they fail to vote in two consecutive elections – both primary and general. This would decrease participation and disproportionally impact newly registered Latino, young and Independent voters who are not likely to vote if removed from this list.
- HB2305 would keep third parties off the ballot by raising the signature requirement to put a candidate on the ballot for all political parties except Republicans. Ballot access for third party candidates will become unlikely, reducing voter choice. For example, the number of signatures required for Libertarian candidates would increase by 4,000 percent.
- HB2305 makes it more difficult for Arizona citizens to engage in direct democracy or overturn bad laws passed by the Legislature through citizen initiatives. By instituting a host of minor technical barriers – including the margin size on petitions – that can be challenged in court, politicians are trying to take away an important right that’s been part of Arizona’s constitution since statehood.
About the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee: The Committee is a coalition of more than 25 non-profit organizations working together to put HB2305 to a vote of the people. These include civic engagement organizations, Latino voter engagement groups, conservation organizations, animal welfare groups and labor organizations. It also includes leaders and members of the Libertarian, Green and Democratic parties.