Election Law Repeal Hearing Gets Postponed Until Next Week

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If you read The Skinny in this week's print edition, you learned about the effort to repeal the election overhaul that lawmakers passed last year. It's a complicated story, but here's are the basics: The various provisions of HB 2305—making it a crime to gather early ballots from voters, tossing voters from the permanent early-voter list, and creating new hurdles for citizens initiatives as well as third-party candidates—were outrageous enough that a referendum drive has put the law up to vote of the people this November.

The Republicans who support the law evidently believe voters will agree to these changes in election law (and they certainly don't want to campaign in support of something that's going to be called the "Voter Suppression Act" in TV ads all through the fall), so they now want to repeal the law. It's not that they have realized they have over-reached; instead, they just plan to pass the provisions separately in order to thwart the referendum drive but still get their way.

Step one is HB 2196, which was scheduled for a hearing yesterday in the House Judiciary Committee. But the bill's sponsor, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, postponed the hearing after a crowd of angry citizens and hungry TV journalists showed up at the hearing.

Stay tuned. Farnsworth said he'd be bringing the bill back next week.

Robbie Sherwood, executive director of ProgressNow Arizona and a spokesman for the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee, promised to return as well.

“I don’t blame politicians for wanting a less intense spotlight for their efforts to stick it to voters, but the public is outraged by how these efforts to curb participation in elections and we won’t go away,” Sherwood said in a press release.

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