U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Challenge to Arizona Voter Registration Barrier


U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Challenge to Arizona Voter Registration Barrier
Arizona Advocates continue to have national impact for Democracy
Phoenix, AZ – Late Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed Arizona and national voting rights advocates a major victory. While less publicized than the decision overturning most of SB1070, 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. The Court also denied Arizona officials’ appeal for the case to be heard before the justices, effectively putting this challenge, on-going since 2005, to rest.

Arizona Advocacy Network (AZAN), most recently known for successfully defending Arizona’s Clean Elections Act, organized this effort to overturn a law 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, “Thursday’s rejection by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by Arizona officials’ and to remove this unnecessary and burdensome barrier secures a major voting rights victory for Arizona and all U.S. citizens eligible to register to vote.  Special recognition of my predecessor, Linda Brown, and past Board President, Michael Valder, is well deserved, for leading this effort from the start.”

The U.S. District Court of Arizona must now reissue its decision to comply with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Once this occurs, Arizona voter registration requirements will change to comply with the Bush era HAVA standards that do not require a citizen to provide documents such as a birth certificate, to prove citizenship in order to register to vote.  The coalition that challenged the Arizona law and their attorneys are requesting the Arizona court to take immediate action so that as many eligible citizens may register to vote in time to cast ballots. Voter registration closes on July 28 at midnight for the August 28 primaries and October 9 for the November 6 General Election. Individuals can register at www.ServiceArizona.com  but currently must still have a valid Arizona driver’s license to complete it online. 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 election.  Nationally, those states considering similar, unpatriotic laws are now blocked from passing them.  American Democracy for the People wins,” added Wercinski.
The Court’s order reads:

(ORDER LIST: 567 U.S.)
The application for stay presented to Justice Kennedy and
by him referred to the Court is denied. The order heretofore
entered by Justice Kennedy is vacated.
Justice Alito would grant the application for stay.

Read other court documents regarding this case.

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.