While most people were getting ready to pass out candy to little superheroes this past Halloween, I was voting. Like most elections, I voted by dropping my early ballot off at an in-person polling place. I am thankful Arizona allows me to obtain my ballot early so I can research the candidates and propositions in my own time and fill out my ballot in the privacy of my own home. While Arizona permits me to drop my pre-stamped completed ballot in the mailbox, I like to hold on to it for as long as possible, usually past the deadline to mail it in, before making my decision. A lot can change in the days leading up to an election and I want to make the most informed decision I can. Additionally, I enjoy the rush of participating in democracy by dropping off my ballot in person and receiving a coveted ‘I Voted’ sticker. And I am not the only one who prefers this method; more than 228,000 Arizonans voted by dropping off their early ballot at an in-person polling place in this past November’s election.
Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita wants to forbid the way that hundreds of thousands of Arizonans currently vote. In January, she introduced SB 1046, a bill that would prevent anyone on the Permanent Early Voting List who receives an early ballot from dropping off their ballot at an early voting center or a polling place on Election Day. Why? Efficiency, she says. We shouldn’t have to wait days for the vote counters to catch up… But isn’t the most effective election the one that allows more people to vote more easily, and isn’t the right answer to an election the one that comes after counting every vote possible?
We know that democracy works best when all people are allowed and encouraged to participate. Arizonans need more, not fewer, protections for voting. We must stand together to tell our representatives not to restrict our voting rights. You don’t need superhuman powers to be a superhero; contact your state Senators today and urge them to oppose SB 1046.