A bill that would stop some voters from getting a ballot automatically mailed to them each election failed in Arizona’s state Senate Thursday after a single Republican joined Democrats in voting against the legislation.
Arizona state Sen. Kelly Townsend, a Republican, explained her surprise “no” vote on the state Senate floor amid a tense episode that saw the senator exchange in a heated exchange with the bill’s sponsor and the pair attempt to silence each other with parliamentary orders.
“I am for this bill, but I am not voting for it until after the audit,” the Republican state senator said, referring to the results of an audit orchestrated by Senate Republicans of the 2020 election results.
She added that other election-related bills had not been advanced. “We have no business fast tracking everything and going home.”
The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, said on the floor it was “disappointing to be on the receiving end of someone’s temper tantrum.”
The legislation, which passed the House earlier this week, had come under fire from Democrats, voting rights groups and business leaders in the state. It needed approval from the state Senate to head to GOP Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.
Senate Bill 1485 would remove infrequent voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL), turning it into an “active” early voting list. Counties would have be required remove voters from the early voting list in odd-numbered years if they do not cast a ballot by mail for two consecutive election cycles and do not respond to a notice from election officials within 90 days.