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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

During this past year, the legislative session remained rife with claims of voter fraud and unsubstantiated election conspiracies, which fueled a host of anti-voter legislation. However, as in past years, the governor was able to successfully veto several of these anti-voter bills that managed to pass the Legislature. Because of the governor’s ability to block the majority of bad bills this year, yet still recognizing the significant threat posed by the Legislature’s anti-voter actions, Arizona received a C on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Arizona Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: No
  • Restoration of Rights: Some lifetime disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
  • ID Requirements: Strict Non-Photo ID

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Arizona as of 2022, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other middle tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 26th
  • EPI Score (2020): 16th
  • CLC State Scorecard: 8/10 
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): MEDIUM

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

Once again, the Legislature introduced a substantial number of anti-voter bills during the session. And yet again, most of these bills barely moved past the introduction stage. The Legislature was able to pass important legislation to help protect election officials from harassment.

  • SCR 1037, although not binding on the state, notes that it is the Legislature’s position that all election equipment used in Arizona elections must be completely manufactured in the United States, the source code for vote machines should be available to the public, and all ballot images should be publicly posted to the secretary of state’s website within 24 hours after the polls close.
  • SB 1061 allows elected officials to make their personal information confidential.This bill also makes release of election officials personal information a crime, expanding existing criminal statutes on release of confidential personal information.
  • SB 1273 creates specific requirements for the ballot return assistance language that must be included on absentee ballot envelopes.

Executive Action

  • Governor Hobbs vetoed almost two dozen anti-voter bills last session that pandered to conspiracy theorists and would have undermined election security in the state. Some of the unnecessary restrictions included:
    • S 1135 would have required the state to withdraw from ERIC, the multistate member organization that helps keep the voter rolls up-to-date.
    • S 1074 would have effectively banned the use of ballot tabulators in the state by establishing strict security requirements that no existing tabulators could meet.
    • H 2415 would have removed voters from the active early voting list for failing to vote in a single general election cycle.
    • H 2560 would have made voter data public, including their name, address, birth year, precinct number, and whether or not they voted in the most recent election.
    • S 1213 would have allowed the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to have final approval over the elections procedure manual in addition to the existing approval requirements for the governor and attorney general.
  • In the fall of 2023, Governor Hobbs issued three executive orders aimed at increasing voter access. She also earmarked $2.3 million of covid relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund proposals recommended by the Bipartisan Election Task Force.
    • Order 2023-25 expands the number of state agencies that must link to the state’s online voter registration site, provide paper registration forms, and evaluate ways to increase access to voter registration, among other things.
    • Orders 2023-24 and 2023-25 reinstitute orders that were first issued by Governor Ducey during the 2020 election. The orders allow state workers to take paid leave to work at the polls during a statewide election and authorize the use of state buildings as polling places and ballot drop off sites.