New Arizona state GOP lawmakers push election reform bills

The lawmakers may have a difficult time passing the legislation in a state where mail-in voting is wildly popular.

Updated: January 23, 2023 - 2:51pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Four freshman Republican state lawmakers in Arizona have introduced bills to change how elections are conducted in the state by ending most mail-in voting and requiring voting by paper ballots. 

State Reps. Liz Harris, Justin Heap, Rachel Jones and Austin Smith introduced a bill last week, declaring: "Voting by mail is banned in this state."

The legislation gives exceptions for absentee ballots for military personnel and residents living overseas or temporarily out of state.

Republicans and others are concerns about how absentee, drop-off and mail-in balloting, which expanding after the pandemic, is too open for potential voter fraud. 

The lawmakers' other elections bill expands mail-in voting exceptions to include people who are confined to a location due to age, disability, incarceration or "any other reason." 

The legislators also proposed a bill that would require paper ballots to be used and for all voting, except for absentee ballots, to occur only on Election Day. The ballot returns must be made within 24 hours after the polls close, the bill states.

Nearly three-fourths of Arizona voters support no-excuse absentee voting, according to a poll last year.

Early voting is incredibly popular also, as more than 80% of ballots for governor were cast early, according to Secretary of State data.

Harris acknowledged the difficulty she and her colleagues will have passing the bill. 

"To be successful, we need to win over public opinion," she said, according to The Epoch Times. "That’s something hard to accomplish given the lack of truthful media in our state."