It sounds like a simple enough statutory requirement for Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes to comply with – provide quarterly reports to the Legislature with specific data related to cancellations of voter registrations, including dead voters and those who have moved out of a county.
But legislative staffers say no such reports have been received for 4th Quarter 2022 and 1st Quarter 2023 even though the law mandating the reports took effect months ago.
Fontes’ office did issue a press release May 5 announcing various voter registration data as of April 1. That report, however, makes no mention of the five requirements of Arizona Revised Statute 16-165(M) involving cancellations which then-Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law as House Bill 2243.
A portion of HB2243 and all of House Bill 2492 are not being enforced by the AZSOS and Arizona’s 15 county records due to several federal lawsuits related to provisions which deal with cancellation of voter registrations due to citizenship issues.
But the rest of HB2243 is in effect, according to rulings by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton.
That includes ARS 16-165(M) which requires that the AZSOS “shall report” five types of voter registration information to the Legislature at the end of each quarter. The required data involves the number of cancelled voter registrations related to deaths, driver’s licenses in other states, jury questionnaire answers, and inactive voting history.
Arizona Daily Independent made a request to the Arizona Legislature last month for copies of the two reports which would have been due by now under ARS 16-165(M). The request was met with a response that there was “no record” of said reports being received.
Legislative staffers referred any further inquiry to the AZSOS. An April 24 request to Fontes’ communication director as to where the reports could be found was acknowledged the same day. Then one week later, the AZSOS responded that the inquiry was being treated as a public records request.
“Given the volume of requests that our office receives, it will take time for our office to review and respond to your request,” according to an email from the AZSOS’s public records division.
ARS 16-165(M) reads that the AZSOS “shall report the following information to the legislature at the end of each quarter:
1. The number of deaths reported to the secretary of state by the department of health services, the number of voter registration cancellation notices issued by the secretary of state to the county recorders as a result of those reports and the number of registrations canceled as a result of those notices.
2. The number of persons reported to the secretary of state who have been issued a driver license or the equivalent of an Arizona nonoperating identification license in another state, the number of notices sent pursuant to subsection E of this section and the number of voter registrations that have been placed in inactive status and the number of voter registrations that have been canceled as a result of those notices.
3. The number of persons who have stated on a jury questionnaire that the person is not a United States citizen, the number of notices sent pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 10 of this section and the number of registrations that have been canceled as a result of those notices.
4. The number of persons who have stated on a jury questionnaire that the person is not a resident of the county, the number of notices sent pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 9, subdivision (b) of this section and the number of registrations that have been canceled as a result of those notices.
5. The number of registrations on the inactive voter list that have been canceled pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 7 of this section.”