/ Modified feb 6, 2024 3:46 p.m.

Republicans pass voting center ban in the AZ House

The bill would instead establish voting precincts of 1,000 people.

360 state house sign File image of the exterior of the Arizona State House of Representatives in Phoenix.
AZPM Staff

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill today that would ban the use of voting centers and require precinct voting across the state.

HB2547 would tie areas of 1,000 voters to a certain voting location, instead of being able to vote at any voting center in their county.

At a hearing yesterday, House Republicans like Rep. Rachel Jones (R-17) spoke in favor of the bill and said precinct voting helps preserve election integrity and reduces wait times.

“It's actually more convenient because they are right there, whether it's at their neighborhood, school or church, they can go before work or after work,” Jones said.

12 Arizona counties currently use voting centers, including the two with the highest populations. Pima County started using them in the 2022 election, while Maricopa County has been using them since 2016.

Democrats in opposition like Rep. Laura Terech (D-4) said densely populated areas would struggle to find the number of poll workers the bill would require.

With 2.7 million registered voters in Maricopa County, the bill would mandate 2,700 voting locations and require 16,000 poll workers to staff them. Pima County would require at least 625 precincts.

“In Maricopa alone, we currently have roughly 220 vote centers, and we're having trouble staffing those locations now,” Terech said.

Supporters in the Republican-controlled House said precinct voting, not voting centers, makes it easier to vote because voting locations are often in voters’ own neighborhoods.

“If you don't have a place where you can vote in your neighborhood or you can walk there, and you have to pay for gas and vehicle maintenance, or you have to pay to take a bus, that is a poll tax,” said Rep. Alex Kolodin (R-3).

With passage in the House, the bill now moves to the state Senate.

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