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Arizona GOP Bills Focus On Voting, Raising Concern Among Democrats

Arizona’s legislative session doesn't begin until Jan. 11, but lawmakers are already prefiling bills. Some Arizona Democrats say Republicans’ bills are targeting voting rights in the state.

Many Arizona Republican lawmakers have questioned the outcome of the November election, but lawsuits related to the state’s vote  have been unsuccessful. State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) has said she wants to restore public confidence in the election process.

"Many of the concerns regarding the management and oversight of our election system are not new and are issues I have been actively trying to address for the last several years," Ugenti-Rita wrote in a November  statement

Ugenti-Rita has been appointed chairman of the government committee, which oversees election issues. She’s introduced several voting-related bills. Her proposals include limiting the time allowed to correct a mailed ballot without a signature. Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) has also  prefiled a bill that would allow any Arizonan to request a recount if they’re willing to pay for it.

Some Arizona Democrats say the proposed bills threaten voter access in the state. Sen. Martin Quezada (D-Phoenix) said he’s wary of election-related legislation.

“We’re going to have our hands full trying to protect the rights of the people of Arizona to vote. And I think that that’s a very scary concept that the people of Arizona should really be paying attention to," Quezada said. 

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.