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Arizona bill would bar early voters from dropping off their ballot at polling place

SB 1046, introduced by Republican state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, would require voters on the permanent early voter lists to mail in their ballot.

After the messy midterm election last November in Arizona, a state lawmaker is proposing some fixes, one of which would prohibit mail-in ballots from being dropped off at a polling place or early voting location.

SB 1046, introduced by Republican state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, would require voters on the permanent early voter lists to mail in their ballot. They would no longer be allowed to drop off their mail-in ballots.

"I am among a voter who believes our election system is dysfunctional and is in need of repair," Sen. Ugenti-Rita said on Sunday Square Off with Team 12's Brahm Resnik. 

More than 200,000 Arizona voters dropped off their mail-in ballots during November's midterm election. Ugenti-Rita said the dropped off ballots caused extreme delays in getting election results.

"Getting rid of that is going to go along way in solving that problem," she said.

Opponents of the bill, like Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, say it's bad news for Arizona's early voters.

"This is a non-partisan issue with real negative implications for hundreds of thousands of AZ voters," Fontes tweeted.

But Ugenti-Rita said "no one's going to be denied their privilege to vote."

Under the new bill, according to Ugenti-Rita, early voters who forget to mail in their ballots would vote a regular ballot at their designated polling location on Election Day and not a provisional one.

"They'll be treated just like a poll voter, which means it's going to be tabulated the day of right in front of them," she said.