Arizona voters who began mailing in their ballots in recent weeks after simply signing and dating an envelope may be doing so for the last time with that simple process.
That’s because one of the 10 measures they’ll decide on in the Nov. 8 midterm elections would change the rules for verifying who people are who send such ballots. Proposition 309 would also change how individual voters are allowed to prove their identity.
Three other measures on the ballot for Republicans who control the Legislature would also make major changes to the citizen initiative process by making it harder for voters to bypass lawmakers and write their own laws. It would create a major exemption to the Voter Protection Act, which prevents the Legislature from changing voter-approved laws in most cases.
Arizona will require voters to prove citizenship and residency, activists upset
These four measures target early voting and voter ID laws in the name of election security. They are a priority for Republicans, who have long muddled the citizens’ initiative process.
The ballot measure, Proposition 309, would require voters to write their date of birth and add a state-issued voter identification number, driver’s license identification number or partial Social Security number to affidavits, rather than just signing and dating them. Back-of-envelope signatures used by many counties will also be changed to be placed on another envelope.
The in-person voting requirement would also change, eliminating the ability of voters who do not have a state, tribal or federal government-issued photo ID to vote by presenting two alternative documents, such as a utility bill.
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Democrats and voting rights groups note that citizenship and other requirements for voting have already been introduced during the voter registration process, and that these changes will result in more mail-in ballots being rejected and people turning away from voting. Republicans say they need election security changes.
Propositions 128, 129 and 132 are three constitutional amendments targeted initiatives.
If a state Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court finds that the language is illegal or unconstitutional, the initiative would first exempt the Legislature from the Voter Protection Act’s ban on changing laws passed by the initiative. For now, only that part would be affected, but if Proposition 128 passes, lawmakers could make wholesale changes or repeal such laws.
Proposition 129 would limit initiatives to one subject and require that all major parts of the initiative be explained in the title, voiding any part that is not explained. Many of the initiatives already enacted cover more than one topic, and opponents say passage of Proposition 129 would limit comprehensive measures and lead to lawsuits challenging whether a measure really covers just one topic.
Proposition 132 would raise the vote threshold from a simple majority to 60% to pass any ballot measure that raises taxes or imposes tariffs. Supporters say it’s important because tax increases deserve more support to pass, but opponents note that many initiatives have fees or taxes to support their goals, such as the Clean Elections Act, which uses a 10% surcharge to allow candidates for office to forego private funding. Funding. All civil and criminal penalties are levied.
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At least two ballot measures this year — one that would raise taxes for rural fire districts and another that would cap interest and make other changes to Arizona’s debt — would need 60% voter support in future elections if they pass.