Let’s Rout the Totalitarian Regime in Arizona and Turn the State Solid Blue

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7 mins read
Arizona

The extremist regime in Arizona is ready for a push that will topple the authoritarian would-be dictators and turn the state a solid blue. 

Gallup polls show the vast majority of Arizonans support expansions to voting, including automatic registration with drivers’ license applications and open registration on election day. Meanwhile, the majority in the Legislature is desperate to cling to power, enacting bills to block Native Americans and others from voting. A ridiculous attempt to cling to good ol’ boy power is making the state’s Game and Fish Department a lead agency in voter registration, directing the department to promote voter registration by sending a form to every Arizonan applying for a hunting, trapping, or fishing license. (Apparently, their lawyers talked them out of turning elections over to the NRA itself.)

Gov. Doug Ducey is an example of an Arizona politician who is rapidly sinking with a 35% approval rating. With his head halfway inserted into the former guy’s behind, Ducey is a metaphor for the untenable position of the entire Republican Party. The whole right-wing apparatus is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Republicans now cannot win primaries without support from a former failed leader and cannot win general elections while held down by loyalty to QAnon and the pig-farmer-in-chief in the Philippines. A growing number of Republicans are now ready to say the months-long audit by so-called Cyber Ninjas is completely stupid. 

No one has been able to explain why Arizona’s ballot databases need to be stored in a fishing cabin in Montana. But they are. 

Now is the time to strike. Sweep them all from power. Help stop voter suppression laws in Arizona.

A first step is the grassroots effort to use the referendum process to beat back three bills that are clumsy attempts to suppress voters. The first bill involves attempts to destroy the Permanent Early Voting List. Arizonans built this system from scratch, working to get more than 80% of the state’s voters using mail ballots. Naturally, the extremists, including at least two announced candidates for secretary of state, desperately want to screw up voting. 

Another bill would defund elections, taking away the grants needed to buy tabulation machines, hire staff, and put drop boxes in remote areas of Indian reservations. 

A third bill is really beyond the pale. It allows for coating ballots with different kinds of invisible inks, like ultraviolet and infrared, which could be used by Cyber Ninjas or others to determine how individuals voted, in violation of the Arizona Constitution. 

So we launch our counter-strike against the extremists by petitioning to put these bills on the 2022 ballot. Not only will the state’s voters support the referendums overwhelmingly, but much of the stink of the bad bills will rub off on the authors and supporters of these bills, helping Arizona progressives take control of the Legislature. 

Since there are a number of petitions to sign, we want to host events in people’s houses and invite progressives from the neighborhood to come and sign the bills. If you are interested in holding one of these open houses, please let us know using this link

But that is just the start. The education community is hard at work to place referendums of three other bills on the ballot, and we will seek to get petitions against their bills at all of our open houses as well. Last year, Arizona voters passed a surtax on the ultra-wealthy (those with annual incomes of more than $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for couples), and the Legislature responded by lowering the top tax rate in the state to keep their total taxes very low. Another bad bill exempts income earned by S corporations from the education surtax, which will save the GOP donors much of the money that the people chose to give to public schools and teachers. 

We need to get petitions for all of these bills to our house parties. And we need to sweep the authors of this nonsense from the Legislature. Each of the 30 legislative districts in Arizona is being re-drawn by the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission. With the extremists on the outs, it will be very difficult to draw many safe districts for them. Many of the worst legislators in the country will be defeated in Arizona’s 2022 elections. 

All of this activity will help to unify activists and get ready for 2022. 

Finally, how will all of this affect Sen. Kyrsten Sinema? With more than three years left on her term, she is a little untouchable at the moment. You can call her office repeatedly and write millions of letters, and it is all water off a duck’s back. But she didn’t get to where she is without being something of a politician. If she sees progressives sweep Arizona in 2022, you can bet she will be moving left. 

You can also donate to Arizona Deserves Better and help protect the voting rights of every Arizonan, this year and beyond.


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Eric is the former chair of the Navajo County Arizona Democrats and is currently the treasurer of Arizona Deserves Better, the organization sponsoring referendum petitions against the Arizona Legislature's voter suppression laws.

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