Heritage Action: Arizona Election Integrity Bill ‘Will Go into Effect Immediately After Passage, Not in 2026’

A Madison County election worker checks a voter's identification against a voting poll list before allowing him to vote in the party primary in Madison, Miss. on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Mississippi's new voter ID law was put to its first test in Tuesday’s primaries. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Heritage Action said on Wednesday an Arizona election integrity bill that will “clean up the state’s early voting list and remove registrations that have been inactive in two consecutive election cycles,” will go into effect immediately, and not in 2026, as State Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-16) said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Sen. Townsend told Breitbart News she has asked legislative legal counsel to provide an opinion as to whether the Heritage Action interpretation of the bill’s date of effectiveness or her interpretation was correct.

Heritage Action said in a statement released on Wednesday:

Last week, the Arizona Senate took up SB 1485, a bill to clean up the state’s early voting list and remove registrations that have been inactive in two consecutive election cycles. Some lawmakers in the state have opposed the bill based on misunderstandings about the bill’s effects and timeline.

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and a nationally recognized expert on election law, said in the statement:

The text of Arizona Senate Bill 1485 is clear: it requires county recorders to remove voters from the early voting list who have failed to vote early in two consecutive election cycles. SB 1485 will go into effect immediately after passage, not in 2026 as some have claimed.

County recorders can, and should, lawfully begin cleaning up the early voting list well before the 2022 midterm election, based on voter participation in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles. While the bill specifies January 15, 2023, as the first deadline for removal, that is the last possible date for county recorders to begin the process, not the first chance. (emphasis added)

Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action, said in the statement:

As Heritage Action and other conservative organizations have previously noted, SB1485 is a strong election integrity bill that deserves immediate passage. As the analysis from The Heritage Foundation shows, any assertions that this bill will be delayed until 2026 are simply incorrect. All conservatives should support this bill — we cannot delay in strengthening Arizona’s election system and restoring trust to voters.

State Sen. Townsend voted “no” on SB 1485 last week, which at least temporarily killed the bill in the Arizona State Senate, where Republicans enjoy a narrow 16 to 14 majority.

Townsend explained her “no” vote in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday:

“I demand reform for the 2022 election, and will only vote ‘yes’ on the 2026 election reform bill after the 2022 election reform bills are passed,” Townsend told Breitbart News on Tuesday.

Townsend told Breitbart News that Senate Bill 1485, which she voted “no” on last week, is really a 2026 election reform bill, not a 2022 election reform bill, “because it will take four years from passage before voters who miss elections will be purged from the voter list to automatically receive absentee ballots.”

“I am not killing the bill [Senate Bill 1485]. I will vote ‘yes’ on the bill upon reconsideration when it is brought back, only after election reform for 2022 is passed,” Townsend added.

In her Tuesday interview with Breitbart News, Townsend noted that she “will be sitting down with Senate President Karen Fann tomorrow afternoon to discuss addressing these issues before the end of session.”

On Thursday, Townsend told Breitbart News that her meeting the previous day with Senate President Fann went well.

“I trust that Senate President Fann will be able find the pathway to success regarding election security for 2022,” Townsend told Breitbart News.

“We were told in caucus by Sen. Ugenti-Rita, the sponsor of the bill, that SB 1485 is prospective, not retroactive. Therefore, a person would have to miss four elections – primary 2022, general 2022, primary 2024,  and general 2024– then be sent a postcard before being purged. I am seeking a legal opinion from our attorneys on that,” Townsend said.

“Regardless whether SB 1485 is retroactive or not, there are still a number of election security issues yet to be resolved for 2022,” Townsend concluded.

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