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Arizona Republicans Want To Purge Non-Recent Voters From The Early Voting List. Who's Getting Kicked Off?

Voting by mail is wildly popular in Arizona, largely because of the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL). Republican state lawmakers plan to send to Gov. Doug Ducey a bill to purge from that list people who haven’t voted recently, meaning they will no longer automatically receive a ballot in the mail.

Business groups, voting rights activists and Democrats have argued the law is unnecessary and will disenfranchise voters. 

To learn about who would be kicked off the early ballot list, The Show spoke with Sam Almy, a Democratic data strategist who has broken down the effect of this bill.

Interview Highlights

Sam, where did your data come from and how did you crunch the numbers?

Both political parties have their version of the voter file. And what I did is I went into the Democratic Party's voter file and I looked at people who were on the PEVL that had been registered before 8-1-2018 — that's the approximate [registration] cutoff deadline for the August primary. And then I looked at everyone who did not, of that group, who did not vote in the 2018 and 2020 primaries and general elections. So they missed four of the elections that are qualified in that bill.

With respect to political parties, how would the bill impact voters in each party? I presume not equally?

No, it does not. ... Of the about 200,000 people who have been removed from the PEVL, independents make up ... less than half of the people who would be removed; they're at 48%. Democrats would make up 30% of those people being removed and Republicans at 22%.

And how about age groups?

The biggest group overall is that 25 to 34 age group range; they are going to make up about 34% of the people removed from this this group. That's pretty expected because if you're in the 18- to 24-year-old group, you might not have had that four years vote history or being eligible to be removed.

One other breakdown we'll ask you about demographically is people of color, because one of the biggest arguments against the bill is that it's been called Jim Crow-style voter disenfranchisement that would in fact disproportionately affect people of color. Is that what you found?

So the Democratic Party, we have some access to ethnicity data. I don't like to use it in this type of analysis because it's not always 100% accurate. However, if you do look at the legislative districts that are most impacted, meaning the most people that will be removed from this, you're looking at legislative districts like 27, 29, 30, 19 — even in Pima County, 3, District 2. And these districts ... have a very heavy Latino population. So you know, you kind of do a little bit of reference there and see that people of color would be more impacted by this bill.

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Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.