Arizona Advocacy Network and plaintiffs make national impact
Phoenix, AZ – Today, the U.S. District Court of Arizona issued an order overturning an unnecessary and burdensome barrier Arizona citizens faced in order to register to vote. “We’re extremely pleased Judge Silver acted so quickly once the U.S. Supreme Court rejected our state officials’ request to stay our victory in the 9th Circuit,” Dr. Marie Provine, president of Arizona Advocacy Network said. This is a major victory for Arizona and national voting rights advocates. While less publicized than the decision overturning most of SB1070, on June 29th, U.S. Supreme Court justices upheld a lower court’s decision that Arizona’s law requiring a birth certificate or other documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote is illegal.
Arizona Advocacy Network (AZAN) organized the effort to overturn parts of Prop 200 it realized violated the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), signed by President George W. Bush in 2002. Sam Wercinski, Executive Director at AZAN said, “Today’s order removes an unnecessary and burdensome barrier that prevented many citizens from exercising their right to vote. Nationally, our victory will stop similar laws in other “anti-voter” states from being enacted.” Arizona citizens can now use the federal form to register to vote without including a birth certificate or other documents required under A.R.S § 16-166(f). This brings Arizona into compliance with the Bush era HAVA standards.
Citizens are reminded that voter registration closes on July 28 at midnight for the August 28 primaries and October 9 for the November 6 General Election. The Democratic and Republican primaries are open to voters not registered with a party affiliation. These voters should contact their county election officials and request a Democratic or Republican primary ballot. Eligible citizens wishing to register to vote should also contact their local county elections officials for a federal form to register to vote. Anyone needing assistance can contact Arizona Advocacy Network at 602-297-2500 and voter registration partners, One Arizona and VotoLatino, at (602) 300-5564.
“This decision means more eligible Arizonans can exercise their right to vote in the 2012 elections. Democracy wins.” added Wercinski.
The Court’s order reads:
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
Maria M. Gonzalez, et al.,
State of Arizona, et al.,
This action is before the Court on remand from the United States Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Counsel for the Gonzalez Plaintiffs, the ITCA Plaintiffs
and the Defendants (“the Parties”) have conferred to determine what further actions are
necessary. The Parties are in agreement that the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals in Gonzalez v. Arizona, 677 F.3d 383 (9th Cir. 2012), requires injunctive relief
against the application of A.R.S § 16-166(f) as applied to the Federal Form for Voter
Registration under the National Voter Registration Act.
IT IS ORDERED AS FOLLOWS:
1. Effective as of this date, Defendants shall not reject Federal Forms fromthose who seek to register to vote for the reason that they have not provided proof of
citizenship under A.R.S § 16-166(f).
2. The parties shall brief the Court concerning the terms of any subsequent
order according to the following schedule:
July 13, 2012 – Plaintiffs’ opening briefs (ten pages each) are due;
July 19, 2012 – Defendants’ response briefs (ten pages if
separate, or seventeen pages if combined) are due;
July 24, 2012 – Plaintiffs’ reply briefs (five pages each) are due.
3. In the event that this Court’s final judgment issues before the Supreme
Court’s disposition of the Defendants’ petition for certiorari, any application for
attorneys’ fees shall be due within thirty days following the Supreme Court’s
4. This Court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of this Order, to
address the matters raised by the Parties in their briefs filed pursuant to this Order, and
to award such further relief as is required by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision
in Gonzalez v. Arizona, 677 F.3d 383 (9th Cir. 2012).
Dated this 11th day of July, 2012.
The Arizona Advocacy Network and AzAN Foundation work 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; educating on ballot measures; 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. More information is available at www.AZadvocacy.org.