We get a bit tired of the stereotype that Arizona is prone to discrimination in its voting process and a recent court filing perpetuates that frustration.
Attorneys representing Voto Latino and Priorities USA are asking a federal court to overturn an Arizona law that requires all early ballots are received by 7 p.m. on Election Day or they will not be counted.
The central argument in the lawsuit points to Arizona’s “ … long history of discrimination against minority voters,” and contends that it’s too difficult for residents in rural areas to get their early ballots returned on time.
It’s true, Arizona was one of a dozen states more than a decade ago that were required by the federal government to get Uncle Sam’s approval for all election process changes. That ended a few years ago.
We don’t necessarily disagree with the idea that Arizona lawmakers have enacted laws that increase requirements for voter identity verification and to prevent the possibility of election fraud.
These changes have not been motivated by discrimination; they have been made to address the very real potential for election tampering.
The premise we strongly disagree with is the idea that rural voters, regardless of whether they are minorities, have a hard time getting their early ballots returned in time to be counted.
County officials send out ballots a full month before Election Day and all they ask is that ballots being returned by mail be turned in to the postal service in time to be counted. Adding more time to allow early-ballot-voters to turn in their ballot won’t cure the problem of voters who don’t take the responsibility to meet the deadline in the first place.
The idea that early-ballot voters are intentionally being disenfranchised because they don’t have enough opportunity to return their ballots in a timely fashion is unfounded. Arguing that the existing requirement is discriminatory is both inaccurate and unnecessarily inflammatory.
These groups, and this court action, attempts to create an issue that doesn’t exist and offers a solution that won’t solve the problem of irresponsible early ballot voters who can’t meet a deadline, no matter how much time they are provided.
— Sierra Vista Herald