Jul 182012

By Sam Conner
The Winslow City Council voted unanimously July 10 to ask the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Divi-sion, not to pre-clear Arizona’s HB 2826, which would cause all elections in the state to be held in the fall of even numbered years beginning in 2014.
Winslow City Attorney Dale Patton has drafted a letter asking the Department of Justice not to pre-clear the stat-ute. He says in the letter that the change will likely eliminate Winslow’s practice of conducting city elections by mail-in ballots, which have increased voter numbers. Navajo County officials have already said they would no longer use mail-in ballots if the elections were all on the same day, as prescribed by the state law. Patton says this would reduce voter numbers, and especially so with minority voters.
He is concerned that voters would suffer voter fatigue with the large number of candidates in an election in which all issues were decided on the same day. With the mail-in ballots, citizens have time to study and vote intelligently on both propositions and candidates.
Patton said that the city had sent a letter to Governor Jan Brewer asking her not to sign the bill and stating the city’s objections to it.
She signed the bill and with the pre-clearance by the Arizona Attorney General, it will become law if the Depart-ment of Justice gives a pre-clearance.