Arizona State Senate Fails to Ban Ballot Drop Boxes

A group of Arizona state Senate Republicans attempted to advance a bill banning the use of ballot drop boxes in the state on Monday. They were unable to get the election security measure passed.

State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita led the GOP effort to amend a proposal requiring drop boxes to have video monitoring by outlawing the boxes altogether. The attempt was thwarted by Republican state Sen. Paul Boyer who joined the Democrats in rejecting the proposal completely.

Ugenti-Rita called for an end to drop boxes, describing the process of using them as being completely open to “ballot harvesting.” That term refers to dropping ballots completed by other persons in collection boxes.

A state law passed in Arizona in 2016 makes it a felony to return another person’s absentee ballot unless the voter is a family member or the person returning the ballot is a caregiver for the voter.

Ugenti-Rita also cited the recent documentary “2000 Mules” produced by Dinesh D’Souza in arguing that thousands of ballots were allegedly cast illegally in the 2020 election using ballot harvesting methods. She argued that if drop boxes are used for illegal harvesting, video of the process would not solve the problem before the damage is done.

Some state Senate Republicans were concerned that the state House would not go along with a proposal to eliminate drop boxes completely. The state House had already rejected a bill banning drop boxes, opting instead for the monitoring requirement.

Recent elections indicate around 90% of Arizona voters cast early ballots. They either vote in person during early voting periods, use mail-in ballots, or drop ballots in drop boxes.

The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) is currently investigating claims that there has been a “recent pattern of fraudulent voter registration forms” this year in advance of the midterm statewide elections. The YCSO reported that it had 16 open cases of voting or registration fraud as of two months ago.

The cases being investigated include impersonation fraud, false registrations, duplicate voting, and fraudulent use of absentee ballots.

YCSO Public Affairs Officer Tania Pavlak told reporters that there have been claims of falsified voter registration forms and persons using false information to register. Pavlak denied rumors that have been circulating that her office had been involved in raiding non-profits alleged to be involved in ballot harvesting.