Nation opposes voting bills signed by Ducey
Six months after Native voters turned Arizona from red to blue, Gov. Doug Ducey has signed into law two bills that voting rights advocates say severely limit Arizonans’ ability to vote — especially Native Arizonans.
S.B. 1003, sponsored by Republican State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, drastically reduces the timeframe to fix missing signatures on mail-in ballots, allowing only up to 7 p.m. on election day to do so. If the missing signature is not received by the deadline, the ballot will not be counted.
The action undermines the settlement the Navajo Nation reached in 2019 with the Arizona Secretary of State and Arizona counties, in which the state agreed to allow Navajo voters with mismatched or missing signatures on mail-in ballots five business days after election day to correct their ballot.
Under S.B. 1003, Navajo voters with mismatched signatures will continue to have five business days to correct their ballot but Navajo voters with missing signatures will only have until 7 p.m. on election day, according to the Navajo Nation president’s office, which sent out a news release stating disappointment with Ducey’s recent actions.
“The actions of certain state lawmakers and Gov. Ducey is belittling to all 22 Arizona tribes,” stated President Jonathan Nez. “Their failure to listen to tribes and understand the unique challenges we face when it comes to voter registration and access to voting sites will have disproportionate impacts on Native American people.”
Nez pointed out many Native voters drive hours and hundreds of miles on election day to cast their ballots and many face language barriers once they get there – these are just a few of the challenges.
“Governor Ducey is either unaware of these issues or chooses to ignore them in the face of national political pressure,” Nez said. “As leaders, we have to do better and stand up for the voting rights of all people.”
The other bill, S.B. 1485, removes 150,000 current registered voters from the permanent early voter list if they have not voted in two consecutive primary and general elections.
“This bill is simple,” said Ducey in a video posted on his Twitter page. “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 if they still want to automatically be mailed a ballot.”
He continues saying if the voter responds, they will continue to receive one and if not, they will remain a registered voter, receive a ballot and can show up to polls on Election Day.
“The voting power of the Navajo people changed the outcome of the 2020 election in the state of Arizona and certain groups did not like it,” stated Nez. “It’s voter suppression, it’s voter disenfranchisement, and it’s an unprecedented attack on our right to vote.”
The Navajo Nation continues to oppose another bill, S.B. 1713, which would require individuals to provide a date of birth and driver’s license number or voter registration number in order to vote by mail.
Many Navajo citizens, especially the elderly, have challenges obtaining a driver’s license. The law does not make any provision for tribal Census or tribal IDs, which are considered valid forms of identification for voting purposes in the state of Arizona.
In addition, finding a person’s voter registration number is very difficult for most people. The proposed law would also require that ballots be thrown out if a number is not legible or written incorrectly.
The approval of these new laws took place as Arizona Republicans continue to support former President Donald Trump’s proven false narrative of a stolen election.
Although ballots were counted and certified by Ducey, Trump supporters continue to believe he did not lose Arizona and Republican lawmakers continue to audit the results in the state’s most populous county.
Rather than believing the electoral process, Trump supporters have been examining ballots and testing for South Korean counterfeit ballots they believe were delivered to Phoenix shortly after the election.
A theory popular with QAnon followers is that Trump secretly watermarked mail ballots to catch cheating, according to the AP.