Victory! Secretary of State of Arizona Will Shed Burdensome Voting Requirement

July 9, 2018
Issues
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Voter walking into polling place

CLC reached a settlement agreement with the Secretary of State of Arizona and the Maricopa County Recorder over a lawsuit on behalf of League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Arizona Students’ Association (ASA) challenging the state’s overly burdensome voter registration process. When the lawsuit was filed, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes chose not to take a position on the merits of the lawsuit. The Secretary and Recorder have agreed to nearly all of the requested changes.

CLC attorneys anticipate this will result in the enfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters in Arizona whose voter registrations were rejected because of unnecessary bureaucracy. CLC was joined in its lawsuit by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Spencer G. Scharff, Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, and Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. served as private co-counsel in the case.

Going forward, Arizona will treat all registrants the same regardless of whether they use the state or federal form, easing a registration process that was one of the most complicated in the country. The state will register all voters for federal elections. Although Arizona will continue to enforce its documentary proof of citizenship requirement for state elections, it will check the motor vehicles database for citizenship documentation before limiting voters to federal-only elections. This will ensure that voters will not be turned away from any election when the state already has the information it says it needs.

Secretary Reagan’s agreement to these commonsense changes is an affirmation that democracy works best when all citizens can vote without barriers CLC's lawsuit will successfully protect eligible Arizonans from being unfairly prevented from registering to vote and participating in federal elections because of unnecessary requirements. We are pleased that the bureaucratic nightmare in Arizona is coming to an end.

After learning from state advocates that Arizona’s system had disenfranchised at least 26,000 eligible voters in Maricopa County alone, CLC and its partners filed a legal complaint on behalf LULAC and ASA with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on Nov. 7, 2017 challenging the state’s dual registration system as an undue burden on the right to vote and the Constitution’s promise of equal protection. Learn more.

Know Your Rights for Arizona Voters and Voter Registrants

Here's what you need to know to register to vote in Arizona going forward.