Mesnard's move to suppress the vote is another predictable move from this career politician
I just don’t get it: What does JD Mesnard have against people exercising their right to vote?
The Speaker’s latest ploy is to gut SB1466, a common-sense bill that, in its original form, aimed to make it easier for verified, legal Arizona voters to cast their ballots in November. The Bill would have allowed counties – including Maricopa County – to keep early voting centers open on the weekend before election day – giving people three more days (from Saturday to Monday) to vote.
Most counties in the state now have technology that enables them to update the voter database in real time, eliminating the need for election officials to close the centers while they reconcile those records. We all remember the massive lines and confusion at polling places in 2016. They cost former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell her job. And we heard stories recently about congestion in voting locations for the special election in CD-08. SB1466 would have gone a long way to helping solve these kinds of challenges.
SB1466 was a rarity in our state: all 15 of County Recorders (eight Republicans and seven Democrats) supported it; the bipartisan County Supervisors Association was on board; and it was passed unanimously by the Senate and two House committees. That’s the kind of bipartisanship we need more of.
Then it hit Mesnard’s desk. He proceeded to strip out the pieces of the bill that would have made polling places more accessible to hundreds of thousands of Arizonans, while maintaining the integrity of our elections.
His reason? “There is nothing in this bill that makes it harder for people to vote.”
Sure it didn’t, Mr. Speaker – but is that really the standard we should be setting? Shouldn’t Arizona be leading the way in making it easier for every legal citizen to vote, so that the will of people is fairly represented in Washington and at the State Capitol?
Mesnard’s fixation with suppressing voters’ rights is nothing new. He was a champion of last year’s move to make it more difficult for grassroots organizations to put forward citizen initiatives, like the one that raised our minimum wage.
Now, I can understand why a career politician like the Speaker would seek every advantage to hold onto power and promote the special interests that bankroll his campaigns. But I believe we should give every verifiable legal citizen every opportunity to cast their ballot – in person or by mail, on election day or before.
JD Mesnard seems to think that’s a little too much democracy for his liking.