Sharpe to the Point: ID Mania

Jim SharpeMay 4, 2021
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Over and over, for months beforehand, then-president Donald Trump said November’s election was going to be “rigged.” While not rooted in truth, it was shrewd – because it meant intransigent Trump supporters would reject any outcome that didn’t declare him the winner.

By now, most Trump supporters have moved on – but not the Arizona Legislature. State Senate Republicans have been busy doling out subpoenas for millions of ballots and just started another audit of Arizona’s election (the 287th one, I think).

The audit is being conducted inside Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which is apropos – since that’s literally the last place I saw an actual circus.

When they’re not auditing previous audits and recounting recounts, Republicans are writing bills they think will keep them from getting robbed in elections. Problem is, these bills could rob Arizona of a Super Bowl à la Major League Baseball yanking its All-Star Game from Georgia over that state’s highly criticized (and mischaracterized) voting law.

But if Super Bowl LVII (scheduled to be played in State Farm Stadium in 2023) is given to another state, it would be unfair. The origin of these bills might be wild-eyed, stolen-election nonsense, but most of the ideas that emerged are sensible. When I first heard they wanted to mess with our early-voting system (which we’ve been doing in some form in Arizona since 1991), I was headed to the state capitol with a pitchfork until I learned the bill simply says that if I don’t mail in a ballot in two straight election cycles, I’ll get a note warning to remove me from the early-voting list – unless I indicate that I exist.

Another bill contains an idea Democrats have been tagging as racist for a long time: showing ID to vote (this time with a mail-in ballot). Contrarily, the idea that requiring an ID suppresses minority voting seems softly racist to me. Are Democrats suggesting people of color are too unmotivated to get an ID, or too slow to figure out which ID to show?

Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill (a political ally of Governor Doug Ducey) is worried enough about losing a Super Bowl to be a signatory on a letter to the governor saying the bills “…are ‘solutions’ in search of a problem” and that they are “…attempts at voter suppression cloaked as reform.” At least the letter echoed one thing I feel: “Arizonans already have confidence in the integrity of our elections.”

Ducey told me the other day on KTAR that in Arizona, “we do elections right, but we are also going to sign good policy in our state.” He also said he doesn’t think what happened to Georgia with Major League Baseball will happen to us with the NFL.

I sure hope not. But if they give our Super Bowl to Vegas or L.A., the NFL better not require identification to pick up tickets at will-call. That could be racist.