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.
The Arizona Shelby Response Project is an in-depth study, taking place in several states in the wake of the United States Supreme Court case Shelby v. Holder that invalidated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The research presents an opportunity to improve access to elections for Arizona voters and to work with other states to modernize the Voting Rights Act. This report presents the result of our analysis of the 2014 Arizona election. It exposes flaws in the state’s election system – policies, procedures and laws -- that have invalidated tens of thousands of votes from registered,
eligible voters. The project also makes concrete recommendations to correct these flaws. Researchers and volunteers for this project conducted hundreds of interviews with voters across the state on election day, obtained and analyzed volumes of public records and voter data after the election, and conducted records searches and interviews with county elections officials.