Arizona Bill Would Limit County Recorder-Led Voter Registration Drives To Government Property

Published: Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 10:17am
Updated: Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 11:39am
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Michell Ugenti-Rita

Republican Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita is proposing restrictions on the ability of county recorders in Arizona to hold voter registration drives on non-government property. 

Ugenti-Rita cited numbers from the Maricopa County Recorder's Office that showed from January 2017 to July 2019 former County Recorder Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, had his voter outreach program attend 56 Democratic events and only six Republican ones. 

While she says this shows political bias, Fontes disagrees, claiming some legislative districts were less welcoming than others.

"Michelle Ugenti is using me to go after her real enemy: Arizona's voters. I spent as much time reaching out to Republican organizations and [legislative districts] as I did to Democratic organizations and [legislative districts] and was very often refused by the Republicans," Fontes said. 

Democratic Sen. Martín Quezada and the Pima County recorder are both concerned about the legislation, saying it would limit voter outreach and create a hurdle for rural, minority, poor and underrepresented communities. Ugenti-Rita claims the legislation is neutral. 

The bill, SB 1358, passed on a 5-3 party-line vote in the Republican-dominated Senate Government Committee on Monday and now goes to the full Senate.

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