BY LINDA BENTLEY | March 16, 2016

Governor signs bill to maintain election integrity, reduce ballot fraud

PHOENIX – Last week the state legislature passed HB 2023 relating to ballot abuse and transmitted it to Gov. Doug Ducey, who signed it into law.

The new law makes it illegal for anyone to collect and fill out ballots with the intent of fixing an election by representing themselves as election officials.

The practice, known as “ballot harvesting,” whereas persons, other than those whose ballot it is, collect ballots, fill them out and hold on to them for an unlimited amount of time before delivering them to the elections department, is now a class 6 felony.

Ducey stated the new law will permit judges to impose prison terms of up to one year and up to $150,000 fine for political operatives found violating the law.

The issue gained attention when former Maricopa County Republican Chairman A. J. LaFaro embarked on a three-year mission to expose it.

A video uploaded to YouTube shows a man walking into an county elections office with a large cardboard box full of ballots to be run through the tabulation machine. When questioned, he responded, “Go f**k yourself, Gringo!”

Democrats have characterized the bill as a voter suppression measure aimed at disenfranchising the poor, minorities and the elderly, as if citizens in those groups should have any less of an expectation of secure elections.

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who has been working with the governor, secretary of state, and various legislators for over four years to get this legislation passed, thanked the legislature for passing, and the governor for signing into law, legislation that protects the integrity of our elections.