Phoenix, AZ –The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order today that will enjoin the State of Arizona from implementing Proposition 200’s voter ID requirements in connection with next month’s November 7th elections.
The court’s ruling will help ensure the fundamental right to vote for tens of thousands of Arizonans who otherwise would have faced unnecessary barriers to full participation in federal and state elections. It will remain in effect until the court considers an appeal that will be decided after the election.
Passed in 2004, Proposition 200 dramatically altered Arizona election law by (1) requiring citizens to present documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, and (2) imposing a restrictive identification requirement as a condition of casting a ballot at the polls. For those voters who cannot meet its strict and unnecessary requirements, Proposition 200 imposes a 21st century poll tax by requiring that voters purchase acceptable forms of identification. By creating a price tag to vote, Proposition 200’s unconstitutional burden disproportionately disenfranchised Arizona’s minority voters, Native Americans, the elderly, the disabled and students. In addition, women who have changed their names, citizens who use a P.O. Box, and people who have moved but not received new identification may have been prevented from voting in the election. Notably, no one has ever uncovered an incident in Arizona of the kind of voting fraud that the polling identification requirement would prevent, i.e., someone impersonating a registered voter at the polls.
Proposition 200’s proof of citizenship requirement has already blocked nearly 21,000 Arizonans from registering to vote. The Court’s order enjoins Proposition 200’s registration proof of citizen requirements so that eligible voters can register before the October 9 registration deadline, and enjoins Proposition 200’s polling place identification requirements so that citizens can vote in this year’s critical mid-term election.
The plaintiffs who filed the emergency motion with the 9th Circuit are The Intertribal Council of Arizona, Inc., The League of Women Voters of Arizona, The Hopi Tribe, The League of United Latin American Citizens, The Arizona Advocacy Network, The People For the American Way Foundation, and Rep. Steve M. Gallardo, and are represented by the law firms of Osborn Maledon and Steptoe & Johnson LLP, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the American Civil Liberties Union Southern Regional Office, AARP Foundation Litigation, People For the American Way Foundation, and Sparks, Tehan & Ryley.