Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey and some county election officials are clashing with the Democratic Secretary of State this week in an effort to introduce more ways for people to register or vote in certain limited circumstances.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Ducey reportedly exchanged a number of controversial letters about the changes Hobbs proposed.
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Hobbs told county recorders that they can help voters in hospital or an assisted-care facility vote using video conferencing if no family member or caregiver is able to assist them, according to The Associated Press.
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State law allows “special electoral commissions” consisting of a Republican and a Democrat to meet the voter in person, fill out the ballot paper as directed, and return it for counting.
Hobbs said a video conference could meet these parameters, but Ducey disagrees.
Additionally, Hobbs said he plans to devise a telephone hotline to help potential voters and that voters who call the hotline before the October 5 registration deadline but are unable to register online or with a paper form should still be allowed to vote until they sign a paper form for the first time, even if the signature arrives after the deadline.
“The integrity of our elections also requires a deeper commitment on the part of election officials: a commitment to maximize voters’ voting rights and to facilitate and facilitate the voting process within the boundaries of our constitution and laws,” he wrote.
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Current Arizona regulations allow voters who submit a registration form before the deadline to resolve issues after the deadline. The question at hand is whether a voter registration initiated by telephone should matter or not.
While Hobbs argues that appointing special election committees would ensure voters are not deprived of civil rights during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ducey and others say the move would be illegal.
“The responsibility of election officials to uphold our constitution and laws is not only a crucial responsibility, but should be the final test of the appropriateness of changes to our election policies and procedures – without exception,” Ducey wrote to Hobbs on Tuesday. .
The next day, the governor asked Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich to intervene.
Ultimately, it is up to county officials to decide whether or not to implement Hobbs’ guidance, and many are unsure of the safety and integrity of those plans.
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Those who support Ducey argue that changes to the process at this point would be harmful.
However, eight progressive groups came to Hobbs’ defense and labeled Ducey’s objections to his efforts “an attempt to deprive Arizona’s most vulnerable communities of the right to vote.”