Arizona House Rep. John Kavanagh (R) told CNN that Republican lawmakers are concerned ballots sent without being requested to people who have died or moved could contribute to voter fraud, while accusing Democrats of being “willing to risk fraud” to get more votes.
“There’s a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans,” he said. “Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they’re willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don’t mind putting security measures in that won’t let everybody vote — but everybody shouldn’t be voting.”
“Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they’re totally uninformed on the issues,” he said. “Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.”
He also called out Democratic efforts to register voters and get those who haven’t turned in their ballots to do so, saying “you can greatly influence the outcome of the election if one side pays people to actively and aggressively go out and retrieve those ballots.”
Kavanagh’s remarks come as the Republican-majority legislatures in Arizona and other states are considering bills that would institute voting restrictions after former President Trump has claimed falsely that widespread voter fraud tainted the 2020 election.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University found in late February that more than 250 bills that would restrict voting are in circulation across the country, including almost two dozen in Arizona.
Among the bills in Arizona is legislation that passed the state Senate that would mandate voters to include identification paperwork with mail-in ballots. Another, approved by a state House committee, would drop voters from the permanent early voting list if they miss consecutive election cycles.
Arizona Rep. Athena Salman (D) told CNN that she believes Republicans are pursuing the bills because it’s the party’s “only way” of winning after the state broke for President Biden and Democratic senators in recent elections. Arizona hadn’t broken for a Democratic presidential candidate in more than 20 years.
“They are trying to make it harder for everyone to vote based on the hope and desire that the people who it harms more and who it disenfranchises more are the people less likely to vote Republican,” she said.
Other Republican legislatures have gained ground in the effort, with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signing a bill to shorten early voting and close polls early and the Georgia state Senate repealing no-excuse absentee ballots.