Arizona Republicans are moving to restrict voting rights to improve what one lawmaker calls the "quality" of the votes that are cast.
GOP legislators have introduced nearly two dozen bills in Arizona to restrict access to the polls, and several have advanced -- including one that would impose restrictions on the state's widely used mail-in ballots and another that would narrow the voting window, reported CNN.
"There's a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans," said state Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills). "Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they're willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don't mind putting security measures in that won't let everybody vote -- but everybody shouldn't be voting."
Kavanagh chairs the Government and Elections Committee that voted along party lines to advance a measure that would remove some voters from a list to be automatically sent mail-in ballots, citing "anecdotal" concerns about some voters allegedly casting fraudulent ballots.
"Not everybody wants to vote," Kavanagh said, "and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they're totally uninformed on the issues. Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well."
Arizona is second only to Georgia -- another reliably red state lost by former president Donald Trump in 2020 -- in the number of new bills introduced this year to restrict voting rights, and opponents say the pattern is clearly aimed at driving down the number of likely Democratic voters.
"They are trying to make it harder for everyone to vote based on the hope and desire that the people who it harms more and who it disenfranchises more are the people less likely to vote Republican," said state Rep. Athena Salman (D-Tempe), a member of the Arizona House Government and Elections Committee.