Thursday, January 30, 2014

Republicans attempting to impede referendum on restrictive voting measure

Republicans attempting to impede referendum on restrictive voting measure 
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House Democrats are working to stop Republicans at the Legislature from keeping a restrictive and controversial voting measure off the ballot.

Today in the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lupe Contreras, D-Avondale (District 19), and Rep. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), voted against HB 2196. This bill would repeal HB 2305 and keep voters from deciding whether the state can implement restrictive changes to the election process.

Republicans passed HB 2305 during a late-night vote at the end of the 2013 legislative session.

“The extremists at the Capitol got this bill through last year, hoping the voters wouldn’t notice,” Quezada said. “It created barriers to the voting process and, at the same time, made it easier for some legislators to keep their jobs because it lowered the number of signatures needed for some candidates to get on ballot.”

The provisions of the bill never went into effect because, shortly after the governor signed the bill into law, opponents collected about 146,000 signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Arizona has a citizen referendum process that gives voters a chance to decide on laws the legislature passes.

“By attempting to repeal HB 2305, the Republicans are trying to take this decision away from the voters,” Contreras said. “Arizona voters have clearly indicated that they want to weigh in on these oppressive changes to the election process. It’s already on the ballot and Arizonans deserve to have their voices heard on this.”

Quezada added that Republicans have already indicated they plan to introduce all of the restrictions in HB 2305 as individual bills.

“They should not be playing political games with the right to vote,” Quezada said. “We’re going to keep working to protect the voters’ ability to make a decision about HB 2305.”

Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of HB 2196, and it must now be heard in the House Rules Committee.


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