As the close of voter registration approaches in Arizona for the November 6 midterms, it is more than likely that thousands—if not tens of thousands—of registered voters who recently moved inside the state will be walking into a trap on Election Day. At best, they will face an annoying and inconvenient runaround to find a polling place to cast a ballot that will count. But just as likely many voters who moved to another county will find that their voting status has been suspended for the 2018 election. The reasons for this likely quagmire are numerous. Some of the blame falls on Arizona residents who moved and didn’t revise their voter registration information. But a larger share of the blame falls on the state, especially two agencies involved in elections, for a series of uneven, bureaucratically opaque, and even legally dubious moves that don’t come down on the side of ensuring that all already-registered voters can participate.
The first culprit is the Arizona Department of Transportation, which runs the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), where 384,000 residents who moved since November 2016 renewed their driver’s licenses online, but did not check a “register to vote” box that would have used their new address to update their voter registration file. In addition to being poorly labeled, by implying that the box only pertained to prospective voters, that opt-in check-off violates Section 5 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which says driver’s license information “shall” be used for voter registration and updates—including new addresses.
The second culprit is the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, which has not gone to bat for the recently relocated residents. Instead, it has hidden behind a don’t-blame-us and legalistic defense, first pointing to MVD’s driver’s license protocols, which they admit violate the NVRA (but say will be fixed in 2019); and then saying the state office lacks legislative authority to use that address change data—even though it is in the state computer systems that it routinely accesses to manage their statewide voter database.
Full Article: How Arizona Officials May Obstruct Thousands Of Voters.