Thousands of enthusiastic grassroots Arizona activists will soon be taking to the streets to collect signatures to put a broad voting rights initiative on the 2022 ballot that will push back fake audits, prevent the theft of electoral votes and protect the rights of Native Americans to participate in democracy.
While voting rights remain locked in Congress, the Arizona Constitution allows citizens to use direct democracy to create the election laws they want. The Republican-controlled legislature cannot overturn laws created directly by the people.
The Initiative, which was filed with the Secretary of State, established automatic voter registration for those looking for a driver’s license or government ID, as well as schoolchildren high school students who are 18 years old. It provides for registration on polling day and a host of long-sought improvements to voting procedures.
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A number of provisions are particularly important to the 21 tribes of Arizona. In addition to same-day registration, this requires consultation with the tribes on setting up reservation polls. People who receive postal ballots will be allowed to give them to their neighbors. This is important for isolated rural communities, as current law may require each voter to travel separately to the county seat, which can be over 160 km away. It also allows tribal members, and others, to vote at any polling station in their county rather than having to search for an assigned location.
Another long sought-after provision is to have ballots stamped on polling day rather than requiring them to be delivered on polling day. This is important for the Navajo Nation where mail-in ballots often have to descend to Albuquerque, Phoenix and return to northeastern Arizona county seats before they can be counted.
The Initiative in return slaps Cyber Ninjas and others performing phony audits. Under the Initiative, recounts and votes can only be conducted under the control of the courts, in accordance with the law. It would be a crime to give ballots to Cyber Ninjas or other unqualified persons and it would be a crime for them to have ballots in their possession. The Initiative makes it very clear that Arizona’s 11 electoral votes go to the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who win the election and prohibits intrigue by the legislature to do otherwise.
The volunteer effort for the Initiative is coordinated by Arizona Deserves Better, an Arizona nonprofit committee. There will also be a number of other organizations involved in distributing the petitions, but we will let them make their own announcements.
The Initiative also extends early voting; restores the permanent early voting list; allows election officials to receive nonprofit grants for specific purposes; Prohibits the legislature from creating new restrictions on voting and expands rights and services for voters with disabilities. Other sections limit political contributions, crack down on lobbyists, and provide more public funding to candidates in clean elections.
If you would like to contribute to the initiative campaign, please donate to https://secure.actblue.com/donate/azvoters#basics
We want to thank all of the experts, lawyers, advocates, activists and others who helped put this in place and who will help us go to the polls in November and win back the voting rights for the people of Arizona.