The Arizona House of Representatives on May 26 rejected a bill supported by most Republican state lawmakers that would have required voters to include identification with their mail-in ballots.
Bill SB1713 was rejected on a 29-31 vote with two Republicans, state Reps. Michelle Udall of Mesa and Joel John of Buckeye, joining Democrats in the GOP-led chamber to vote against it.
S.B. 1713, which passed the Republican-led Senate on March 8, would require absentee ballots to include a voter’s date of birth and some form of identifying number as part of the completed affidavit accompanying their mail-in ballots.
Under the proposal, a driver’s license number, the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security Number, or the number of a voter’s non-operating identification license number would have been acceptable.
However, House Democrats argued that the bill would disproportionately affect votes from people who don’t know the new rules or who don’t have easy access to the required ID identifying documents.
“This bill would disproportionately affect our Tribal elders who don’t know their date of birth & have inconsistent birthdays across their records,” Democrat state Rep. Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren wrote on Twitter. “Tribal members also wouldn’t be able to use their Tribal ID’s to vote.”
Democrats also argued that the bill would put an unnecessary strain on counties, especially ones with smaller tax bases, as they administered elections.
“Currently in the process, in Arizona’s largest county, it is 528 hours of ripping the flap of the envelope, at one second a ballot,” Democrat state Rep. Athena Salman said. “So the impact of 1713 would take that 520 hours right now of ripping—one second a ballot, the status quo that we have—and it would add an additional 2,500. That’s 2,500 hours, costing over $35,000.”
They noted that it could also put voters at risk of identity theft by putting their name, address, ID number, and signature together on the same form, thus deterring them from using absentee ballots.
Voting by mail is overwhelmingly popular in Arizona, where over 80 percent of voters cast their ballots by mail, according to the Clean Elections Commission.
“We also have received notice from insurance companies that by putting this information … by putting your last four digits of your Social Security number, and your birthday, and your signature in the ballot envelope … it is an identity thief’s dream come true,” Salman added. “It compromises the identity of the voter and opens it up and exposes them to risk, in which their identity can be stolen later on down the road.”
Republicans supporting the bill say it would restore confidence in elections following allegations of potential voter fraud after the 2020 election.
An audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County, Arizona, began in May after Arizona’s Republican-controlled Senate took possession of more than 2 million ballots cast via a subpoena.
Auditors, led by Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, have been reviewing the ballots, as well as 385 tabulators used in the 2020 election, along with other materials, this time by hand.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.