Election law repeal earns House endorsement

PHOENIX -- The House voted 36-23 Thursday to repeal last year's controversial changes in election laws but refused to approve a provision to keep them from reenacting them again.

That 2013 law made a series of changes in everything from how early ballots can be handled to making it more difficult for minor parties to get their candidates on the ballot. Foes got enough signatures to delay enactment to give voters the last word in November.

Backers of HB 2196 said they are simply obeying the will of the people who forced the public vote to have last year's law overturned at the ballot.

But House Minority Leader Chad Campbell said he fears there's another agenda by the Republicans who are supporting this repeal.

He said once the original law is repealed -- and the referendum nullified -- that would allow Republicans to reenact pieces of it in "a kind of Frankensteinian version' of the law.

Rep. Eric Meyer, R-Paradise Valley, tried to add a provision to prevent that. His amendment would require a public vote if the Legislature reenacted any provision of last year's law.

But Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, said that was unnecessary because he knows of no such move. Farnsworth said, however, he could not promise others are not considering it. The Senate is considering identical legislation.

--- Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services


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