Legislative Update for Jan. 30th, 2017


Legislative_Update_Image.pngThis week I'm launching my 5-point plan to reform Arizona's electoral system. Arizonans have an incredibly high level of mis-trust in our voting system. If our democracy is to survive, elected officials must take this situation seriously.

This list is not an exhaustive list, by any means. It is meant to be a list of things that I think represent some common ground.

I hope you can support my efforts to improve our voting systems in Arizona.

1) Automatic Voter Registration, aka "AVR", HB2348

Bill Description: Allow automatic voter registration when residents register obtain or update their drivers’ licenses at the Department of Motor Vehicles. When Arizona residents are automatically registered to vote based on their legal residency in the state, there should never a question about whether they have a right to vote. This bill will allow a resident to opt-out of voter registration, rather than requiring them to opt in.

2) Allow Trusted Early Ballot Delivery; HB2349

Bill Description: The current law, which prohibits the collection of sealed, legal absentee ballots by citizens and the delivery of those ballots to election officials, seriously disenfranchises rural and more transient voters. 

Rather than deny individuals the right to vote, simply place an affidavit on the early ballot envelope that confirms that the voter has sealed the ballot personally and that they approve that their ballot can be delivered for them to an election official. This allows a higher level of confidence that ballots are secure in their delivery while guaranteeing Arizonans their right to vote.

3) Extend Voting Hours for Early Voting Locations; HB2351

Bill Description: In many cases, early voting locations close at 5pm, making it more difficult for voters to cast their ballots --and we all know people who would prefer to hand deliver their ballot. (Yep, when it comes to this, so many of us have "trust issues.") These early voting locations should be open until 7pm and the Arizona Legislature should appropriate sufficient funds to maintain these extended hours.

4) Allow Registered Independent Voters to Vote in the Presidential Preference Election Primary; HB2350

Bill Description: State law limits voter participation in the Presidential Preference Election to voters who have a political party preference indicated on their voter registration record, which excludes independents and voters who chose not to designate a political party preference. This disenfranchises 1/3 of the voters in Arizona and means they have little say in our choice of president. We can reverse that policy very easily and open the Presidential Preference Election to all registered voters in Arizona.

5) Invest in More Internet Security Systems to Guard Voter Information and Election Results; HB2273

Bill Description: It has become very clear in the 2016 elections that there are people in the world who would like to hack in to our elections systems, either to export sensitive data or to simply destabilize our elections. We must meet this threat head-on.

This is my focus in 2017 and I’m asking you to join me. If you share this view, that elections reforms are the core of our democratic future, please sign up here

News Around the District
Many people are asking me how to get involved to make change. The hardest part is taking that first step. Don't let that keep you from getting involved. Start anywhere. If one organization does not fit, go on to the next. We need you all!

1) As a Democrat, I believe that our LD24 meetings are even more crucial now. Plus they are a good first stop on your journey. You will meet so many well-connected folks See this link for more information. We had registered Independents and Republicans at our last meeting, which was bursting at the seams.

2) If the Democratic party is not your thing, check out the Indivisible Guide. This guide has been downloaded millions of times and is a catalyst for thousands of meetings around the country. Put in your zip code to find a meeting near you. 

IMG_3143.jpg3) Also try Stronger Together, the spin-off of the Pantsuit Nation effort. This link is for a closed group. You will need to ask to join, as they are trying to prevent trolling. 

4) Of course, the effort to reform the Electoral College system is still moving along. Check our AZ Direct Presidential Election group's Facebook page.

5) I went to a meeting of the League of Women Voters a few weeks ago. I was thrilled to see the conference room full of about 300 people, all wanting to see intelligent reform in our electoral system.

6) The Arizona Advocacy Network serves as a guard against repeal of the Clean Elections, as well as standing for reasonable elections reforms. This is also a group that could use your support.

So there! Don't ever tell me I didn't give you options. :-)

Brain Food
1) The flatly untrue comments from Pres. Trump about voter fraud are easily refuted. Even Republican local election officials around the country said there was no significant voter fraud, certainly not at a level that could turn an election. But the question is, will the general public take the time to learn about voter fraud, or will they fall victim to "alternative facts"? Here's a great summary of what the real threats to our electoral system are. 

2) Here's more on the fraud issue. This story goes in to detail with quotes from local GOP elections officials refuting Trump's accusations. My favorite, of course, is from our own Secretary of State's spokesman: "We haven’t received any complaints to our office or any word of suspicious activity, and we would definitely hear it,” said Matt Roberts, the spokesman for Arizona’s secretary of state." That was on December 18th.

3) Just in case you think I'm cherry-picking stories on this issue, check out this Heritage Foundation report claiming 462 cases of voter fraud and 742 convictions. I loved reading this one. Particularly because they mislead the reader right off the top. Their number of cases stretch all the way back to the early 1990s. Further, they conflate registration fraud with voter fraud. In many ways it supports the study showing only 31 cases of registration and voter fraud since the year 2000 that actually had enough evidence to go to court. 

4) Pres. Trump's executive order to stop refugee resettlement based on race or origin is simply un-American and unnecessary.  Now is the time to take action to protect those immigrants who will continue to add to our great American future. Please read and share this statement from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition