February 13, 2013

Election, Campaign Issues Debated

State Senate committee considers several legislative proposals

A divided Arizona Senate panel Tuesday passed a bill barring groups from collecting early ballots from voters for delivery to county election officials.

Democrats on the Senate Election Committee argued the bill is designed to limit minority votes, while Republicans said it is designed as a common-sense measure to protect the sanctity of individual ballots. The bill would allow family members and some other individuals to collect and deliver early ballots.

The measure passed on a 4-3 party line vote Tuesday and will go to the Senate floor after a routine review.

Other election- and campaoign0-related bills that passed the committee:

  • A ban on the Arizona secretary of state, who also is the state's chief elections officer, serving on a political committee. The bill was proposed after Secretary of State Ken Bennett served as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's state campaign manager in 2012 and, as elections chief, considered whether to keep President Barack Obama's name off the state ballot over "birther" questions.

  • Making it a felony to violate rules against some independent campaign expenditures. Such expenditures, including those by groups known as "super PACs," generally are subject to much looser rules and limits than candidate campaign operations.

  • A tightening of rules for getting a citizen's initiative on the ballot.

  • Making more room on ballots during presidential election years.

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