The Arizona Supreme Court struck down a proposed ballot initiative on Friday that, if successfully approved by voters, would have repealed several election-integrity laws passed by the Republican-controlled legislature.
Titled Proposition 210, the now-failed ballot initiative had the potential to completely overhaul Arizona’s election laws, several of which the state legislature recently passed. As noted by The Tennessee Star, the 26-page proposal “is very similar to the federal HR 1,” the legislation previously introduced by congressional Democrats that would have resulted in a federal takeover of elections.
Among the proposed changes to Arizona election law were same-day voter registration, a repealing of “Arizona’s ballot harvesting ban,” and “voter registration with minimal identification, such as a pay stub.” Other provisions in the initiative would have disqualified “electors who don’t choose the president selected by Arizona’s presidential election,” eliminated “the 30-day residency requirement in order to vote,” and made it “harder to cancel voter registrations of inactive voters,” among others.
In 2021, the Arizona legislature passed a law that “requires the state to remove infrequent voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List, turning it into an ‘active’ early voting list.” GOP Gov. Doug Ducey also signed a bill earlier this year mandating that voters show proof of citizenship in order to vote in federal elections.
The latter has since been the subject of a lawsuit filed against Arizona by the Biden Department of Justice, which referred to the law as an “unnecessary requirement” that “turns the clock back on progress” and “block[s] eligible voters from the registration rolls for certain federal elections.”
According to the Associated Press (AP), the state Supreme Court’s Friday decision “upholds a lower court ruling issued hours earlier, in which Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Mikitish rejected thousands of signatures and said the initiative fell 1,458 signatures short of the 238,000 required to qualify for the ballot.”
“The judge’s Friday ruling reversed his own decision from a day earlier after the Supreme Court asked him to explain how he concluded that the initiative had enough valid signatures to qualify,” the AP report says. “When the judge upheld the measure the day before, [Chief Justice Robert] Brutinel had refused to accept it, saying [the] court was unable to determine exactly how Mikitish came to his determination that backers had collected enough valid signatures for the measure to appear on November’s ballot.”
In response to the high court’s decision, backers of Proposition 210 have issued several outlandish statements on the matter, with the committee backing the initiative going as far as to claim that certain “politicians have been intentionally trying to attack the ballot measure process for over a decade to prevent voters from being able to make decisions about Arizona’s future at the ballot box.”
“Today’s decision is a continuation of these attacks and reflects an increasingly extreme MAGA agenda,” they added.
Efforts to railroad election integrity efforts through state constitution-altering ballot initiatives are hardly exclusive to Arizona. In Michigan, efforts are underway to get an election law-changing proposal on the ballot for the midterm election that would expand the use of ballot drop boxes and provide voters with the “right” to vote by absentee ballot, among several other changes.