Arizona lawmakers and officials are responding to the coronavirus pandemic by proposing new measures and calling for more support.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has asked the Arizona Legislature to authorize all mail-in elections for the state’s primary in August and general election in November.
“Health experts have said it could be months before the risk of infection subsides, with the possibility of a new outbreak after the summer months,” she said in a letter to legislative leaders. “We need to prepare now for any eventuality.”
Hobbs asked lawmakers to build more flexibility into the law before they adjourn, allowing county boards to authorize upcoming elections as mail-in only. She noted that state law already allows for this in the case of city and school district elections.
Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes agreed with this move.
“Arizona and Maricopa County are prepared to go to all ballot by mail, which given the health circumstances, is simply [for] the best bet,” he told KTAR News’ “The Mike Broomhead Show” on Tuesday. “We already know how to do this.”
McSally Suspends Campaign Ads, Door-Knocking
Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., announced Wednesday she has suspended all of her television campaign ads and door-to-door canvassing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is not a time for politics,” she said in a statement. “It is a time for us to remember that we are in this together as Americans, regardless of party or ideology.”
McSally said she will focus her time on emergency coronavirus legislation, and her staffers are encouraged to use their time to help the elderly and other communities at higher risk for the COVID-19 disease.
McSally’s announcement comes days after One Nation, a group allied with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, bought $700,000 work of ads supporting her, according to The Arizona Republic.
A spokesman for McSally’s likely Democratic challenger Mark Kelly told The Copper Courier the senator’s ad suspension doesn’t amount to much.
“Senator McSally started this campaign with a negative attack ad, and there are ads on TV supporting Sen. McSally right now even as the Senate has delayed the COVID-19 relief package,” Kelly spokesman Jacob Peters said.
Peters added that Kelly’s team suspended door-knocking and large events starting last week.
“Mark remains focused on ensuring workers, healthcare professionals, and business owners have the support they need to get through this,” he said said.
Stanton Calls For National Guard Deployment
Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Phoenix, released a statement Wednesday calling on Arizona to activate its National Guard to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Stanton said the military members can transport and distribute medical equipment, staff non-medical roles at hospitals, help medical centers scale operations, and set up and operate drive-thru and mobile testing centers.
“We need to act today to mobilize the Guard in anticipation of what will come next,” Stanton said. “Lives are on the line and we cannot afford to wait longer.”
Governors in 18 states have already activated their National Guards, with more than 1,500 guardsmen now supporting coronavirus response, according to Military Times.