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Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed an election reform bill Tuesday that could stop thousands of voters from automatically receiving an absentee ballot ahead of an upcoming election.
SB 1485 would remove voters who have not participated in Arizona’s last four elections from its permanent early voting list, which allows them to automatically receive absentee ballots ahead of elections. Partisan primaries are included as separate elections, meaning that a voter could be removed if they fail to vote back-to-back election cycles, but they must also first fail to respond to mail notices alerting them.
“Arizona is a national leader when it comes to election integrity and access to the ballot box, and today I signed #SB1485 to continue that legacy,” Ducey wrote on Twitter after signing the bill.
Voters are barred from removal until 2025, meaning that those on the roles will remain through the next two electoral cycles. The bill passed the state Senate earlier Tuesday on a 16-14 party-line vote.
Critics say that the bill could remove over 125,000 voters, a disproportionate share of whom are Latino.
The bill faced a rocky journey through Arizona’s Republican-controlled state legislature. After passing in the Senate and amended before passing the House, it temporarily stalled when the Senate was set to pass the amended version due to a controversial audit of the 2020 election that had begun in the state, but ultimately passed.
The GOP-backed audit of the state’s mail-in ballots follows multiple reviews that found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state, which President Joe Biden narrowly won.
The audit has alarmed both Arizona election officials and the Department of Justice, which has suggested that it may violate federal election laws.
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