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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Arizona State Legislature Passes Anti-Voter, Anti-Democracy Bill Targeting Communities of Color

WASHINGTON -

The Arizona State Legislature passed SB 1485 Tuesday, a bill that requires county election officials to unnecessarily purge tens of thousands of eligible voters from the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL), which is used to automatically mail early ballots to voters in each election. Eighty-eight percent of Arizona voters cast early ballots in the 2020 election. The following is a statement from Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel and senior deputy director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

“This regressive legislation makes it harder for eligible Arizona voters to participate in elections, adds nothing to the state’s existing processes for removing ineligible voters from the rolls, increases administrative burdens on elected officials without providing adequate funding, and simply does not advance any legitimate state interests. What’s even worse is that it appears to disproportionately target Arizona’s communities of color, who chose to vote by early ballot in record numbers last year.

“We are witnessing politicians undo years of progress on expanding access to the ballot box, but there is a way to stop it. SB 1485, and the 361 other voter suppression bills that have been introduced in Arizona and 46 other states across the country, make clear why we need the U.S. Congress to immediately pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act.”

Background:

SB 1485 will require county election officials to remove an eligible voter’s name from the PEVL if they do not vote by early ballot in consecutive federal primary and general elections—even if they vote in person or in local or state elections during that time. This essentially ends the PEVL as a ‘permanent’ program, because once a voter is removed, they will have to reapply in order to continue to receive their ballot. Currently, Arizona voters need to apply for the PEVL only once, and remain on it as long as their registration status is active and they are eligible to vote. The PEVL was enacted in 2007 and since then has been overwhelmingly popular with voters and successful in increasing participation in elections. 

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The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity – work that continues to be vital today.

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