It would be a Class 6 felony to collect more than two ballots from other voters if a bill the House Appropriations Committee passed Wednesday becomes law. Senator Don Shooter says his bill, S-B 1339, clamps down on ballot harvesting: collecting massive amounts of ballots of others, which

he says, is no guarantee the collector will take them to the Elections office.

Shooter, saying his bill is about protecting the integrity of a voter’s ballot, cites one alleged practice he claims is occurring in South Yuma County. He says collectors put ballots in a microwave with bowls of water and the heated water helped open the ballot seals, enabling them to peek inside. Shooter alleges if they liked what they saw, the ballots would be delivered, but if the voter’s choices were deemed unfavorable they’d go in the trash can.

But opponents say the bill will only disenfranchise poor, elderly and disabled voters with mobility problems.They also say there’s no proof of fraud which is motivating the bill. The bill goes next to the House Rules Committee.

–Barbara Villa