Arizona Edition

Ninth Circuit to decide constitutionality of new Arizona voter registration law

Rights groups argue that violating the law is a felony and disenfranchises voters.

PHOENIX (CN) – A commission of the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday addressed the question of whether Arizona could enforce a law that advocacy groups claim would disenfranchise Arizona voters.

SB1260The bill, signed in June, requires county registrars to deregister voters and remove them from the state’s permanent mail-in ballot list if they are registered to vote in another county. It also “provides a mechanism for voting for another person registered in another state,” regardless of whether that person currently lives in Arizona and intends to vote only in Arizona. is also a felony.

The Arizona Retired Americans League said in August of this year that three provisions contained in the bill – called the revocation clause, the deletion clause, and the felony clause – had “no reasonable relevance to the government’s legitimate objectives,” judicially. sued the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State. And it will only “drastically cool voter registration and voter engagement efforts and disenfranchise Arizona voters.” The law disproportionately affects people who travel frequently, such as young people and minority voters, as well as seniors coming to Arizona for retirement, the alliance argues.

In its lawsuit, the League argues that the felony provisions are unconstitutional, vague and overly broad. The paper said the “voting mechanics” could be interpreted in a number of ways, including the act of registering to vote, leaving the alliance, and co-plaintiff Boto Latino’s claim that if he cancels first, That includes wondering if registering a new Arizonan would be a felony otherwise. Past voter registration.

Plaintiffs argue that because the law at issue does not require the county registrar to contact voters directly to cancel old registrations (a requirement under the National Voter Registration Act), all three provisions are invalid. It alleges that it has violated procedural due process set forth in the National Voter Registration Act. They also argue that the new law places an unfair burden on residents’ voting rights because the onus is on residents, not county registrars, to ensure that new guidelines are being followed.

In September, an Arizona federal judge granted summary judgment to plaintiffs on both the felony clause and the revocation clause, but not the strike clause. Then-Attorney General Mark Brnovic appealed the decision the next day. Since the lawsuit was filed, Chris Mays and Adrian Fontes have been appointed Attorney General and Secretary of State, respectively.

Much of Tuesday’s hearings in the Ninth Circuit focused on whether the act of registering to vote counts as a “voting mechanism.”

Alliance attorney Aria Branch said plaintiffs were concerned that the language could be interpreted broadly.

“Voter registration is closely tied to the act of voting,” she says.

But Tracy Olsen, who represents the Yuma County Republican Commission as a government interventionist, said voter registration and the actual voting are separate processes. Because you can register to vote without actually voting, she said that everything you need to do to register to vote is part of the act, separate from the vote itself, and instead involves filling out and submitting your ballot. rice field.

Attorney General Mays’ deputy Joshua Whitaker said it doesn’t matter if registration constitutes a voting mechanism because Mays has already said he doesn’t intend to force it to do so. Whittaker said plaintiffs are not entitled to challenge how the clause is enforced unless there is a prior enforcement history or a clear threat of enforcement.

Federal Circuit Judge Daniel Collins, appointed by President Donald Trump, disputed this.

“In the context of the First Amendment, if the legislature and county attorney’s office just sit there in silence when they think the law makes their actions illegal, they’re just sweating. do I have to solve the problem by flushing?” he asked. “I don’t understand why they don’t have the right to attack constitutionality.”

Whittaker said it would have been a different story if enforcement agencies hadn’t commented on the law, but because the agency specifically told plaintiffs it wouldn’t enforce the law in the way plaintiffs fear. “There is no room for discussion,” he said.

Branch said plaintiffs do not need to prove a specific threat because the statue clearly shows that possibility.

“There is nothing unreasonable in believing that this attorney general or any future attorney general will enforce the law as written,” she said.

Olsen disputed the Arizona federal court ruling on the revocation clause, saying the National Voter Registration Act requires county registrars to “jointly maintain a statewide voter database,” and has denied duplicate registration revocations. claimed to be part of that requirement.

But, as the lower court decision confirmed, the law also requires that archivists contact voters directly before canceling registrations, Branch said. This is to prevent the unintentional deregistration of same-sex voters.

U.S. Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, appointed by Barack Obama, and Kenneth Lee, appointed by Donald Trump, closed the panel. It is unclear when the verdict will be handed down.

Read Top 8

Subscribe to Top 8, a roundup of the top stories of the day, delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe Now

Stay connected to your trusted source for state, county, and local news and events.