Letter issued by Inter Tribal Association of Arizona (ITAA):

Dear Governor Ducey:

On behalf of the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona, a consortium of 21 federally recognized Indian Tribes in Arizona, I write today to ask that you veto SB1003 ( early voting; signature requirement; notice). I also ask, if they are passed in the legislature and sent to your desk, that you veto SB1485 ( early voting list; eligibility) and SB1713 ( early ballots; identification; mailing). These bills, all related to the conduct of elections, will unnecessarily create obstacles for tribal members to vote and make it more difficult for tribal members to fully exercise their rights as full citizens of the State of Arizona.

While each of these bills impacts tribal members differently, they have the effect, jointly and individually, of making it more difficult for tribal members to exercise the voting franchise. SB1003, as it passed the legislature, would invalidate votes cast where the voter has not signed the early ballot affidavit, without giving the voter a chance to cure the issue after Election Day. As you may know, many tribal members live on Reservations that are rural and have poor access to mail service. As a result, these tribal members are then reliant on those mail ballots being returned to county recorders by an unreliable postal service, which takes a considerable amount of time. This means there will be less time available for county recorders to review the affidavits before Election Day. The reduction in the time available for tribal voters to cure their ballots creates a disproportionate impact on the state’s Native American populations and, as a result, this bill should be vetoed. SB1485 is similarly concerning because it creates the possibility of a tribal member being removed from the Permanent Early Voting List if he or she chooses to vote in person or misses elections during a four-year period. Given the uncertainty of mail access on Reservations, this also may disproportionately impact tribal members.

Perhaps most concerning is SB1713. The bill, as it was amended in the House, would require voters to provide a driver’s license or voter registration number when submitting their early ballots. This bill does not allow for tribal identification to satisfy this new voting requirement, despite the fact that tribal identification can be used for in-person voting, as permitted by Arizona Revised Statutes section 16-579. As tribal members have historically relied on this identification to vote, failing to include this identification in this new voting requirement will unnecessarily reduce access to the franchise for tribal members.

On behalf of the tribal leaders of the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona, I ask that you stand with us and stand with our communities in opposing these bills. Please veto SB1003, SB1485 and SB1713.


Shan Lewis
President, Inter Tribal Association of Arizona
Vice Chairman, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

Download the PDF of the letter here: