Arizona Advocacy Network

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EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

PHOENIX - Thousands of votes from registered Arizona voters were not counted in the 2014 November general election. The votes of tens of thousands more have been discarded in previous elections. These invalidated votes would have been enough to sway several close races.

When it comes to disenfranchising eligible voters, Arizona is, unfortunately, a national leader. These discarded votes were not the result of fraud, which is so extremely rare it borders on non-existent. These were eligible voters – sometimes confused, sometimes misinformed or merely forgetful, sometimes willfully targeted because they share a common last name. Tens of thousands have lost their franchise in past elections for a variety of technical – and easily reformed – reasons. The populations most impacted have a disturbing commonality. Younger, minority voters are vastly over-represented among those whose votes have been invalidated.

This does not need to happen in Arizona.

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PHOENIX – The One Arizona Coalition, Arizona Advocacy Network and The League of Women Voters released the following statements today regarding a viral video of a volunteer dropping off ballots.

From Sam Wercinski, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network: “It is important to note that the video was taken on Monday, August 25, the day before the primary election. That is three days after election officials recommend mailing early ballots. This young volunteer from Citizens for a Better Arizona was not breaking any laws when he was confronted and harassed by a person in the elections sitting area. The young volunteer, in fact, should be applauded for helping voters get their ballots to elections officials on time rather than mail them after the deadline and arrive too late to be counted. That is what happened to thousands of voters in Maricopa County in the primary election - ballots arrived in the mail but after the election. Voters who give their early ballots to trusted workers and volunteers from respected civic engagement groups have their voices heard on Election Day, unlike the approximately 7,000 plus voters whose early ballots were not counted in the August election primarily because they arrived late. These groups should be congratulated for assisting voters and election officials in getting ballots returned, securely and on-time."

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PHOENIX-Voting rights advocates will deploy hundreds of volunteers to polling places throughout Arizona during the upcoming elections to protect Arizonans from new policies that make it harder to vote and disproportionately impact Native American and Latino citizens. This ramped-up “Election Protection Program” is a response to last year’s United States Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, which marks its 49th anniversary on August 6th, and rules implemented by Arizona politicians since the Court’s decision.

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PHOENIX— Arizona Advocacy Network and fellow plaintiffs on Tuesday will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the victorious U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down unnecessary paperwork requirements that prevented at least 30,000 eligible Arizonans from registering to vote in a three year period. On June 17, 2013 the Supreme Court ruled in ITCA v Arizona that these barriers could no longer be imposed on citizens registering with the federal form, in use since 1993. Despite this victory, politicians have not stopped their attacks on the voting rights of Arizona citizens, according to Sam Wercinski, Executive Director of Arizona Advocacy Network.

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Phoenix, AZ- Late Monday night, Arizona Advocacy Network and fellow interveners secured another victory in their nine-year battle to protect the right of all eligible citizens to register and vote.A three-judge panel in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals extended an order issued by a two judge panel earlier this month, blocking the implementation of unnecessary paperwork to use the federal voter registration form sought by the Arizona and Kansas Secretaries of State.

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Phoenix, AZ- Arizona Advocacy Network and fellow interveners have won a temporary stay in their nine year battle to protect the right of all eligible citizens to register to vote. Yesterday, a two judge panel from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with citizen groups and the Elections Assistance Commission blocking implementation by Arizona's and Kansas' Secretaries of State to impose unnecessary paperwork requirements on the use of the federal voter registration form. In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with this same group of plaintiffs ruling that states could not impose additional requirements to register to vote when an eligible citizen uses the federal form without authorization by the EAC.

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Phoenix, AZ – Today, the United States Supreme Court shattered another safeguard of America’s democracy by erasing campaign finance reforms passed 40 years ago after the Watergate scandal. As witnessed before Watergate reforms, the decision is expected to allow for greater influence over government officials and increased corruption in policymaking that benefits big money interests who can support candidates with more campaign cash.

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Phoenix, AZ- Arizona Advocacy Network, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, LULAC and Senator Steve Gallardo, along with Kansas and national civic groups filed a motion with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in the on-going struggle for voting rights and the use of the federal voter registration form.

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Phoenix,AZ-Arizona Advocacy Network hand delivered over 1,500 letters to House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Andy Biggs at the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday. The letters requested their commitment to support voters and anti-corruption efforts by stopping SB1344, SCR1003, any HB2305 related measures that might resurface, and by building support for HB2651. See the letter here: http://bit.ly/N4LlAT

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Phoenix, AZ Justice at Stake and Arizona Advocacy Network launched a new project to address fair courts and judicial diversity at a kickoff event and luncheon in Phoenix yesterday.The event featured former Arizona Supreme Court Justice, Ruth McGregor; Chief Presiding Judge at Phoenix Municipal Court, Roxanne Song Ong; Attorney James Christian, and Linda Benally, President-elect of the National Native American Bar Association. Lisa Loo, Deputy General Counsel at Arizona State University, acted as moderator. 

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