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First They Came for the Libertarians
First they came for the Libertarians. The Arizona Legislature has decided to suppress the Arizona Libertarian Party, a small group that has contributed to the national political debate since 1971.
By using tricky editing in their new HB 2305 voter law, the Legislature changed the number of required signatures for statewide Libertarian candidates from 250 to more than 10,000. The base was changed for calculating their signature requirements from the Libertarians own 25,000 members to the entire 3.2 million registered voters in Arizona.
Pastor Martin Niemoller’s famous comment often quoted as “First they came for the Jews” is chilling. But his insight into how the Third Reich rose by successively crushing unpopular groups is appropriate because other minorities may soon be targeted as the legislative majority attempts to cling to power while steadily losing popular support.
Native Americans and Hispanics know they are already in the crosshairs with states given free rein following the death of the Voting Rights Act.
Who might be next? Could right-wing politicians turn on Mormons or Catholics? If the right wing can attack the Libertarians, rest assured they will trample anyone who potentially stands between them and continued power.
Somewhat like in Putin’s Russia, the tinkering with the Arizona election laws almost seems plausible. But remember that in Russia the game is always fixed so only Putin and his supporters can win. The intent of the Arizona Legislature is no less clear.
Other gems hidden in the Arizona Legislature’s bill affect the ability of the elderly and disabled to vote. Anyone can stop by and pick up an early ballot for a shut-in, unless they have been asked to do so. Then it is illegal.
Arizona’s own courts have protected the state constitutional provisions for Initiative, Referendum and Recall, but the Arizona Legislature is attempting to overturn the wisdom of the state’s courts by injecting hidden and tricky rules which must be followed to the letter. The Legislature declares that its subterfuges override the courts’ efforts to protect the original intent of the Arizona Constitution. The right wing gives great lip service to protecting the U.S. Constitution, but prefers to disregard the Arizona Constitution when it is inconvenient to their agenda. If our state constitution is trampled as a filthy rag, how safe are our federal rights as this group ends free and fair elections?
Finally, the Legislature has set up a system for purging the early voting lists, making it more difficult for the elderly or disabled to remain eligible to vote by mail. Again, their plan seems to make sense but the goal is suppressing the vote and remaining in power.
Please join the Arizona Democratic Party, Libertarians and others in supporting voting rights. When asked by a volunteer, please sign the Referendum petition to suspend HB 2305 until the people have an opportunity to vote on it.
Eric Kramer Chairman Navajo County Democratic Committee
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