Recent events at the national and local levels have made it clear that we need to take action to ensure elections are accessible, secure and transparent. Elections in Maricopa County last year are remembered for long lines and frustrated voters.
There are reforms the state can implement now to keep that scene from being repeated. Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix (District 24), introduced a package of bills to improve and protect Arizona elections. These are common-sense reforms that will strengthen the electoral system. A summary of the legislation is below:
- HB 2348 allows for automatic voter registration (AVR) for any Arizona resident obtaining or updating his or her driver’s license at the DMV, reducing voter registration confusion and obstacles. AVR is a simple improvement, which will save money, while registering more voters.
Rep. Kirsten Engel, D-Tucson (District 10)
- HB 2349 will allow voters to designate a person to carry their ballot to a polling place for them by signing an affidavit on their secured ballot envelope. The affidavit will confirm that the voter has personally sealed the ballot and given approval for delivery to an election official.
- HB 2350 extends early voting polling center hours to 7 p.m. in response to the many voters who faced difficulty in casting their ballots at on-site locations due to early closing times last year.
- HB 2351 focuses on the largest demographic of voters in Arizona: those who register as Independent. Arizona voters who choose not to designate a political party preference are legally unable to vote in the presidential preference election (PPE). This bill would open the PPE up to every registered voter.
Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix (District 24)
- HB 2273 addresses internet security around our personal voter registration and polling data. The bill would provide $2 million for counties to increase internet security measures to prevent the theft of private information.
Arizona House Democrats support Rep. Clark's reforms because Arizonans should have their voices heard – at the ballot box and at the Legislature.