PHOENIX — An organization that is trying to block a public vote on the tax cuts approved by Republican lawmakers now is funding an initiative to impose new restrictions on voters before they can cast a ballot.
The proposal by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club would add a requirement that anyone dropping a ballot in the mail also provide a date of birth and other identification like a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number. That same requirement would apply to those who drop off their early ballots at polling places.
All that is in addition to the current requirement for a signature. That is the only thing that county election officials now use, comparing it to what is on file to determine whether the person submitting the ballot is the person to whom it was sent.
It also would say that family members who return someone else’s early ballot — something still permitted despite new laws against “ballot harvesting’’ — also have to provide some identification.
The measure, if approved by voters, also would affect those who actually show up at the polls.
Arizona law already requires identification for those who vote in person.
But it permits those who do not have photo ID to instead get a ballot after presenting two other items with things that have their current address like utility bills, bank statements, tribal enrollment cards or vehicle registration cards. The initiative would eliminate that option.
Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said Tuesday the changes are necessary to restore voter confidence.
“It is undeniable that hundreds of thousands of people have lost faith in the election system,’’ he said.
And Mesnard said it’s “immaterial’’ if some of that doubt is because there are people from his own political party who are making claims the election was stolen and Donald Trump really won.
“Quite frankly, even if no one had raised any issue about the election we should always be vigilant about making sure it is secure,’’ he said.
Sponsors need 237,645 valid signatures by July 7 to put the issue on the 2022 ballot.
Campaign materials list the source of funding from the Free Enterprise Club.
That is also the organization that is trying to convince a judge to kill a referendum drive seeking a public vote on the $1.9 billion in tax cuts, mainly to benefit the wealthy, that were enacted earlier this year by the Legislature. Attorneys for the organization contend that there is no constitutional right of voters to second-guess any changes in tax law.
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