Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Monday, July 18
Arizona Voter ID
Today's Arizona Republic has this excellent report on the disagreement regarding the implementation of a voter identification requirement imposed by the state's Proposition 200, which has county election officials warning of long lines at the polls. The Republican Secretary of State and Democratic Attorney General negotiated proposed rules, but the U.S. Department of Justice and Governor Janet Napolitano (a Democrat) have yet to sign off.

Proposition 200 (text here) purports to target illegal immigration. It requires voters to present either a photo ID or two forms of other identification that bear the name and address of the voter, but it less than clear about what types of identification suffice. Arizona officials have been fighting over how this requirement should be implemented.

The Arizona Republic reports that, under the agreement between the Secretary of State and Attorney General, those lacking the requisite identification wouldn't even be permitted to cast a provisional ballot, regardless of whether their names appear on the registration list. That's not consistent with HAVA, as I explained here. Nevertheless, DOJ seems likely to sign off on this, given that they've taken the position -- quite clearly an erroneous one, in my view -- that voters need not even be given a provisional ballot if they lack ID.

Some county registrars are very unhappy with the new proposed requirements. So are civil rights groups, particularly those concerned with the rights of Latinos and Native Americans who are likely to be especially hard hit by the ID requirement. The Pima County registrar expresses concern that young people and those who've recently moved will also be disenfranchised, since they may not have a utility bill or other compliant document with their name and current address on it.

In response to these concerns, the Attorney General and a representative of the Secretary of State's office emphasize that the proposed procedures are just a draft. Let's hope so. The proposed rules, if accurately described, aren't compliant with HAVA and would be a nightmare for voters and election officials alike. I'm not sure that there's any good way to implement the requirements of Proposition 200, but one that prohibits voters without ID from even casting a provisional ballot is a sitting duck for a lawsuit.

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Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University