FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2013 – Just one week after voting rights advocates celebrated their U.S. Supreme Court victory reaffirming the use of the standard federal voter registration form by all eligible citizens, politicians in Arizona and Kansas filed a lawsuit attempting to circumvent the conservative Court’s decision. In response to this lawsuit, several plaintiffs in the successful Supreme Court case spoke against continued efforts to make voting harder in Arizona.
State Senator Steve Gallardo, a long time advocate for voters said, “Clearly, these politicians and their supporters fear an increase in the number of eligible citizens voting. Yesterday’s lawsuit and new laws like HB2305 demonstrate their desire to make it harder to vote for all eligible Arizonans.”
The League of Women Voters has advocated for expanding the right to vote for nearly 100 years. Dr. Barbara Klein, the Arizona President added, “This effort by the state of Arizona is a perfect example of why Congress must act swiftly to update and modernize the Voting Rights Act. In the meantime, the state government should not be allowed to block eligible citizens from registering to vote.”
John Lewis, Executive Director for the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona stated, “The U.S. Supreme Court victory clearly reaffirms that ensuring all citizens the greatest access to exercise their right to vote is a basic principle in a democracy.”
Between the time Arizona imposed more restrictions on voter registration in 2005 and the initial trial challenging this law in 2008, at least 30,000 eligible Arizonans had their voter registrations rejected because they did not meet the new requirements. The Arizona AG notes six prosecutions for voter registration fraud in 2006 but fails to state there were no convictions. In August 2012, plaintiffs won a temporary court order requiring election officials to accept the federal form. Over 12,000 Arizonans around the state registered using the form before the election. Approximately 1500 registrants could not be matched in state and federal databases used to process the forms and were required to provide additional information. The process validated the secure use of the federal form to ensure only eligible citizens are able to vote while removing unnecessary barriers to register.
“Some politicians prefer to rig the system and twist the facts for their own benefit,” said Sam Wercinski, Executive Director of Arizona Advocacy Network. “Arizona citizens deserve free, fair and accessible elections and that’s what all of us will continue to fight for.”
Sam Wercinski, Executive Director Arizona Advocacy Network, 602-228-4497M
Senator Steve Gallardo, 602-926-5830
Barbara Klein, 480-661-4202
Kelly Ceballos, Senior Director, League of Women Voters of the United States, 202-429-1965; firstname.lastname@example.org
Arizona Advocacy Network works for electoral justice, political rights and full civic participation to achieve government for the People. Our work includes: defending, strengthening and expanding Arizona's Clean Elections system; advocating for full, immediate disclosure of contributions including corporate and "independent expenditures;" promoting anti-corruption and conflict of interest laws including gift bans; guarding voting rights, voter registration and election integrity, including through the use of litigation, and protecting and improving Arizona's ballot initiative and referendum processes.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. http://www.lwv.org/local-league/lwv-arizona.
The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. administers over twenty federal, state and private grants and contracts in a variety of areas including health, research, and environmental quality. The membership of ITCA consists of twenty of the federally recognized Tribes in Arizona. ITCA coordinates meetings and conferences to facilitate participation of Tribal leaders in the formulation of public policy at all levels. http://itcaonline.com.