SB 1485 would revise the state’s permanent early voting list, which allows a voter to automatically receive a ballot by mail for every election. It would remove voters who have not participated in the last four elections, including partisan primaries, and don’t respond to final mailed notices.
“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.
Earlier on Tuesday, senators passed the bill on a 16-14 party-line vote. The Arizona House had approved the legislation last month.
Under the bill, voters would not be eligible to be removed from the list until January 2025, following the 2022 and 2024 cycles.
“This bill removes nonvoters,” GOP state senator Vince Leach said in defending the bill. “These people have plenty of other means for voting.”
Critics say the bill amounts to voter suppression, making it more difficult for occasional voters, voters of color, independents and rural Indigenous voters. Opponents say as many as 150,000 Arizona voters could be affected.
The bill has faced a whiplash journey through the Arizona Legislature. The Arizona Senate previously approved the measure before the state House amended it and passed its version in April. The amended bill was expected to get final passage in the GOP-led state Senate last month.
Though the review is still ongoing, Townsend voted in favor of the bill on Tuesday.
“I have been reassured because we are now looking into other issues,” Townsend told her colleagues.