On February 10, Arizona HB 2304 passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously. Now it goes to the House Rules Committee. This bill contains all the Secretary of State’s recommendations for election law changes, including some ballot access improvements. It says when a party qualifies for the ballot, it then retains its status as a qualified party for the next two elections. Also it legalizes out-of-state circulators for all types of petitions, although out-of-state circulators must register with the Secretary of State before working.
Also, the bill makes it easier for candidates of a newly-qualifying party to get on their own party’s primary ballot. As far as is known, this is the first ballot access improvement bill this year to have made progress in any state’s legislature.
The Judiciary Committee amended the bill’s provisions about electioneering at the polls. The bill, as amended, clarifies that buttons and clothing worn by voters at the polling place is permitted, unless the buttons or clothing relate to something that is on the ballot. This change is undoubtedly because some polling place officials last year tried to eject voters who were wearing clothing that mentioned the Tea Party, which was not on the ballot in Arizona as a separate political party. Under the amendment, Tea Party buttons and clothing would be permitted (until such time as the Tea Party in Arizona gets itself on the ballot as a separate political party, of course).