By BOB CHRISTIE
PHOENIX (AP) - A divided Arizona Senate panel has passed a bill barring groups from collecting early ballots from voters for delivery to county election officials after a heated debate.
Democrats on the Election Committee argue the bill is designed to limit minority votes, while Republicans say it is designed as a common-sense measure to protect the sanctity of individual ballots.
The bill passed on a 4-3 party line vote Tuesday and now goes to the Senate floor after a routine review.
Other bills that passed the committee would bar the Arizona Secretary of State from serving on a political committee, make violations of rules against some independent campaign expenditures a felony, tighten rules for getting a citizen's initiative on the ballot and make more room on ballots during presidential election years.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.