Arizona officials announced Monday a settled lawsuit that says thousands of residents are being disenfranchised by the way the state handled voter registration applications that don’t provide proof of citizenship. The suit filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens and Arizona Students’ Association against Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes. The lawsuit claimed the state’s voter registration process was unduly burdensome, as people who use a state-produced application and fail to provide proof could not vote in both state and federal elections.
Articles about voting issues in Arizona.
Arusha Gordon remembers hearing the decades-old stories from her Native American clients about the challenges of voting back then. Polling places were often miles off reservation and located in mostly white towns whose residents were not always welcoming, said Gordon, voting rights counsel for the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under Law. James Tucker heard the same stories from tribal members who said it was sometimes easier to skip elections completely. Those challenges are a thing of the past say Gordon and Tucker, the voting rights counsel for the Native American Rights Fund. But voting can still be a challenge for Native Americans, who may face language barriers, registration difficulties and a lack of access to polling places and government services that can ease the voting process. “It’s an issue that often gets overlooked,” Gordon said. “They (tribes) never get as many resources directed towards them.”
A federal judge has rejected a Democratic effort to overturn a 2016 Arizona law barring groups from collecting early ballots from voters as part of their get-out-the-vote efforts. The ruling issued by U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes Tuesday evening comes in a lawsuit filed shortly after the law was passed by the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature. Rayes also rejected challenges by national and state Democratic groups that alleged the state’s policy of rejecting ballots cast in the wrong precinct was illegal. Democratic groups argue the law banning the collection of early ballots disproportionately affects minority voters. Gov. Doug Ducey has called it a common-sense law to protect election integrity. Violators of the law that bans anyone but caregivers or family members from delivering a completed early ballot to a polling place can face a felony charge.
Republicans in the Arizona House on Wednesday pushed through a proposal to revamp the commission that draws the state’s political boundaries. The House voted 32-25 to approve the measure to overhaul Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission, which sets political district lines that determine who represents voters in Congress and the state Legislature. The vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats in opposition, came as lawmakers were working to put together and pass a final budget. Any changes to the commission require a vote of the people in the form of an amendment to the Arizona Constitution.
Roughly 140,000 Maricopa County voters have not received ID cards, potentially leaving eligible voters in Tuesday’s special congressional election unaware that they can cast a ballot. County election officials said they haven’t sent cards out since December, blaming a printing delay. The 8th Congressional District special election to replace ousted Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Franks in the West Valley is being watched nationally as a possible bellwether for the fall midterm elections.
A bill to modernize elections that had broad support from both parties ran into a partisan buzz saw last week when the Republican House leader stripped key items such as weekend voting. The legislation would have allowed Arizona counties with the proper technology to keep early voting centers open from Saturday through Monday before Election Day, giving voters three more days to cast a ballot. The current prohibition on voting during the weekend dates to when election departments needed time to mark paper rosters by hand to note who cast early ballots before Election Day.
Arizona: Lawmakers at odds over a bill that could keep a McCain successor off the ballot this year | The Washington Post
State lawmakers in Arizona are sparring over legislation that would give a Republican successor to Sen. John McCain a pass on having to stand for election in November even if the ailing six-term senator resigns or dies before the end of next month. Leaders of the Republican-controlled state Senate say they plan a vote next week on the measure, which could have implications on control of the U.S. Senate and has intensified the spotlight on the health of McCain (R-Ariz.), who is battling brain cancer. Democrats have cried foul and are vowing to block the bill, which they say reflects how worried Republicans are about defending GOP-held seats, even in a red state like Arizona. The state’s other U.S. Senate seat is also on the ballot in November, as Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is not seeking reelection.
Arizona Republicans appeared to back off their efforts Wednesday to rig the rules to keep Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) seat in their column, pulling from the state Senate floor a proposed change in state law that would have guaranteed a lengthy appointment from the GOP governor should the ailing senator leave office in the coming weeks. Statehouse Republicans seemingly tried to pull a fast one on their Democratic counterparts, quietly adding an emergency clause to a bipartisan bill to clean up special election laws in the state that would have handed Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) assurance that he’d get to appoint a replacement for McCain through 2020.
Arizona announced Monday that it will use a single cybersecurity firm to monitor and manage the risks to computer systems in all 133 state agencies. The company, RiskSense, is based in neighboring New Mexico and was chosen over other potential vendors in part because of its software that rates a network’s vulnerability to cyberattacks with a proprietary scoring metric modeled on personal-credit ratings. “I can have productive business conversations with people who know little about IT and security,” Mike Lettman, Arizona’s chief information security officer, said in a press release.
A hack on an Arizona election database during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign was carried out by suspected criminal actors and not the Russian government, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters on Sunday. The official was responding to a report on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” citing an internal government document that Russian hackers successfully infiltrated computer systems associated with at least four U.S. states, including Arizona, leading up to the 2016 election. Hackers working for the Kremlin breached systems in Illinois, a county database in Arizona, a Tennessee state website and an information technology vendor in Florida, according to the previously undisclosed Oct. 28, 2016, assessment from the Department of Homeland Security, according to the program.