Attorney General Tom Horne has filed a lawsuit, challenging the right of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission to investigate … Attorney General Tom Horne. For a guy who says he wants the truth to come out, he’s fighting awfully hard to squelch it. In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Horne’s asking that a Maricopa County Superior Court judge block the Clean Elections Commission from investigating him. Horne’s been on the hot seat for a while now. The latest scorcher comes courtesy of a former employee who claims Horne and other members of his executive staff were campaigning for his re-election on the taxpayer’s dime. Sarah Beattie produced e-mails sent from private accounts during work hours and said Horne often held strategy sessions and even gave out her work number for campaign-related calls.
On behalf of Gov. Jan Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne and Secretary of State Ken Bennett (none of whom actually asked for my help) I called Sam Wercinski, Executive Director of Arizona Advocacy Network, and demanded that he stop trying prevent these three fine elected officials from wasting ungodly amounts of taxpayer money on a problem that does not exist. By which I mean – voter fraud. Last week, a two-judge panel from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the implementation of voter suppression laws in Arizona and Kansas. The laws essentially go beyond the federal voter registration form, requiring those who register to provide proof of citizenship. Wercinski’s organization, along with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, LULAC and State Senator Steve Gallardo has been fighting the law, which led to the state’s plan to create and implement a completely unnecessary and wildly expensive two-track voting system. All for the few and far between cases of voter fraud. “The 10th circuit did a good thing,” Wercinski told me. “But the state seems intent on fighting this ridiculous fight anyway.” Arizona already has spent a ton of money on what top officials pretend to be a voter-fraud problem. They know the problem doesn’t exist. But claiming that it does plays really, really well with some voters.
A federal judge’s order backing Arizona and Kansas laws that require proof of citizenship for voter registration is “not the American way” and must be challenged, opponents said Thursday. The comments came after a U.S. District judge in Kansas ordered the Election Assistance Commission to include the two states’ proof-of-citizenship requirement on federal voter registration forms, which only require that people check a box verifying their U.S. citizenship. “We will appeal it,” said Sam Wercinski, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network. He said no official decision has been made, but he expects voting-rights advocates will file an appeal “within 30 to 60 days.” But state officials in Kansas and Arizona said they are confident the latest decision will stand – and that they do not intend to wait for appeals. “They have a right to appeal, but the decision was made effective immediately,” Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said Thursday. It is the latest twist in a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled last summer that Arizona officials could not reject federal voter registration forms because they did not require proof of citizenship.
A federal judge in Kansas on Wednesday ordered federal election authorities to help Kansas and Arizona require proof of citizenship of registering voters, in a decision that could well set a trend for other Republican-dominated states. Judge Eric F. Melgren of United States District Court in Wichita ruled that the federal Election Assistance Commission had no legal authority to deny requests from Kansas and Arizona to add state-specific instructions to a national voter registration form. The states sued the agency to force the action after it had turned them down. The Supreme Court ruled last June that Congress holds full power over federal election rules, but indicated that states could require proof of citizenship in state and local elections. Federal rules require prospective voters only to sign a form attesting to their citizenship, a procedure favored by Democrats who want to increase participation of minorities and the poor in elections, but that Republican officials say fosters voter fraud. In his ruling, Judge Melgren, appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, characterized the decision by the election commission to deny the states’ requests as “unlawful and in excess of its statutory authority.” He said that Congress had not “pre-empted state laws requiring proof of citizenship through the National Voter Registration Act.”
Efforts by Kansas and Arizona to require people who register to vote by mail to prove they are U.S. citizens were upheld by a federal judge on Wednesday, potentially opening the door for more states to enact such measures. The two Republican-led states had sued the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, set up by Congress after chronic voting problems during the 2000 presidential election, saying the agency wrongly prevented them from demanding such documentation in voter registration forms in the state. Laws passed in the two states requiring proof of citizenship for voters are part of a broader movement in many conservative states to demand would-be voters provide identification to ensure that non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants, cannot influence elections. “Today’s decision is an important victory for the people of Arizona against the Obama administration, assuring that only Arizona residents, and not illegals, vote in Arizona elections,” said Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who filed the lawsuit along with Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach.
In a rebuff to state officials, the head of the federal Elections Assistance Commission has rejected Arizona’s request to require proof of citizenship by those using a federal form to register to vote. In a 46-page order late Friday, Alice Miller, the commission’s acting director, said Congress was within its rights to conclude that those seeking to vote need not first provide documentary proof of eligibility. Miller said the affidavit of citizenship, coupled with criminal penalties for lying, are sufficient. Friday’s ruling is yet another significant setback for Arizona’s effort to enforce the 2004 voter-approved law. The state had argued all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court it has a constitutional right to demand citizenship proof, only to be rebuffed last year. But the justices, in their 7-2 ruling, said state officials were free to petition the EAC to add the requirement to the form. Friday’s order forecloses that option.
Editorials: Common sense and the Constitution should guide Arizona voting policy | Arizona Capitol Times
It makes absolutely no sense that someone would be qualified to vote for president but not for governor. Yet that’s the logic of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Secretary of State Ken Bennett. In order to get around a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Bennett and Horne have proposed implementing a two-tiered voting system — based on the form people use to register. People who register using the state form will be able to cast ballots in all elections; those who register with the federal form will be limited to federal races. If all goes as Horne and Bennett hope, Arizona will have two classes of voters for next year’s mid-term elections. It will be a significant policy shift — prior to Horne’s opinion on the matter in October, Arizonans could vote in any election after registering with the federal form. Moreover, dividing the voter rolls will be costly for taxpayers, burdensome for elections officials and confusing for voters.
Arizona has spent enormous amounts of time and money waging war against voter fraud, citing the specter of illegal immigrants’ casting ballots. State officials from Gov. Jan Brewer to Attorney General Tom Horne to Secretary of State Ken Bennett swear it’s a problem. At an August news conference, Horne and Bennett cited voter-fraud concerns as justification for continuing a federal-court fight over state voter-ID requirements. And some Republican lawmakers have used the same argument to defend a package of controversial new election laws slated to go before voters in November 2014. But when state officials are pushed for details, the numbers of actual cases and convictions vary and the descriptions of the alleged fraud become foggy or based on third-hand accounts.
A ballot measure to overturn a Republican-backed state bill that made sweeping changes to Arizona election law was certified this week as having more than enough valid signatures, but on Friday opponents vowed to challenge those signatures in court. The effort to block the measure is the latest round in a growing fight in Arizona that revolves around voter participation and allegations of fraud. Democrats contend that the Republican-led Legislature passed the measure in June as part of a bigger movement to make it more difficult for minorities to vote and third-party candidates to run in the state. Republicans said the law was needed to curb voter fraud and streamline the voting system. Opponents of the law quickly got to work on qualifying a measure for the ballot in the next general election. On Tuesday, Arizona officials announced that the measure had the necessary signatures required for the 2014 ballot.
Arizona election officials are planning to provide two types of ballots for the next election following an opinion by the state’s attorney general. In the most populous county, Maricopa, this change could cost an additional $250,000 per federal election cycle. The opinion by Attorney General Tom Horne came in response to questions from Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett regarding a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Inc. The court ruled 7-2 that Arizona could not require proof of citizenship from people using the federally provided national mail voter registration form but upheld a state law requiring proof of citizenship for registrants using the state form.
Voter beware: Even if you are legally registered to vote at an Arizona residence, you may not be allowed to vote for state and local offices in 2014. Last week, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne released an opinion directing the state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, to implement a split election system in which voters will be restricted to a much shorter ballot if they only completed a federal voter registration form, which does not require proof of citizenship. Arizona state law requires proof of citizenship from all voters in state and local elections, even for voters previously registered in another state or Arizona county, in the form of an Arizona driver’s license issued after 1996, a birth certificate, a passport, naturalization documents or a Tribal Certificate of Indian Blood. At the federal level, however, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 created a universal voter registration form requiring that a person sign under penalty of perjury that he or she is a U.S. citizen, and mandates that those with a driver’s license or social security number provide that information; those without are given a separate ID number by the state.
Barred by the Supreme Court from requiring proof of citizenship for federal elections, Arizona is complying — but setting up a separate registration system for local and state elections that will demand such proof. The state this week joined Kansas in planning for such a two-tiered voting system, which could keep thousands of people from participating in state and local elections, including next year’s critical cycle, when top posts in both states will be on the ballot. The states are using an opening left in June by the United States Supreme Court when it said that the power of Congress over federal elections was paramount but did not rule on proof of citizenship in state elections. Such proof was required under Arizona’s Proposition 200, which passed in 2004 and is one of the weapons in the border state’s arsenal of laws enacted in its battle against illegal immigration. The two states are also jointly suing the federal Election Assistance Commission, arguing that it should change the federal voter registration form for their states to include state citizenship requirements. While the agency has previously denied such requests, the justices said the states could try again and seek judicial review of those decisions. “If you require evidence of citizenship, it helps prevent people who are not citizens from voting, and I simply don’t see a problem with that,” said Tom Horne, the Arizona attorney general.
An Arizona plan to tighten voter registration would create a two-tiered voting system in time for next year’s elections but affect only several thousand people, some of whom could be denied participation in state and local elections, state officials said Tuesday. Voting rights activists, however, said that many more eligible voters probably would choose not to participate because of confusion over the new plan, which is expected to be challenged in court. The new system will essentially have separate voter rolls. Those who registered using a state form and documented their U.S. citizenship will receive a full ballot for federal, state and local elections, and those who registered using a federal form but whose citizenship could not be fully verified would be able to vote only in federal elections. In a practical sense, just because a potential voter registered using a federal form doesn’t automatically exclude that voter from participating in local and state elections, experts and county officials said.
At least 1,400 Arizonans would be allowed to vote only in federal elections under a rule announced this week by Attorney General Tom Horne, according to a survey of county election officials. The rule requires counties to maintain one list for voters who used state registration forms or provided proof of citizenship and one for those who used a federal form and didn’t provide evidence of citizenship. Horne issued the opinion at the request of Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who asked how to comply with both a state law requiring proof of citizenship to vote and a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said the state cannot require people who use the federal form to provide additional proof of citizenship. Horne’s office said Arizona has filed suit to change the federal form to allow the state to require proof of citizenship. In Maricopa County, Recorder Helen Purcell said around 900 people used the federal form but didn’t include additional proof of citizenship, such as a driver’s license number.
Arizona: Ballots could split federal, state races to enforce citizenship-to-vote law | Arizona Daily Star
Secretary of State Ken Bennett is directing election officials to separate their federal election ballots from state and local races to keep those who cannot prove citizenship from voting in the latter. Bennett’s order followed a formal opinion Monday by state Attorney General Tom Horne. He conceded that, for the time being, Arizona must allow people who use a special form designed by the federal Election Assistance Commission to register to vote, even though that form does not require proof of citizenship. Arizona voters mandated such proof in 2004. But the U.S. Supreme Court concluded Congress is entitled to require states to accept the federally designed registration form. Horne said Monday that he believes that directive applies only to elections for federal offices like the president and congressional races, which he believes frees Arizona to apply its proof-of-citizenship mandate for anyone who wants to vote for anything from governor on down the ballot.
Arizona elections officials are preparing to use a dual-track voting system in next year’s elections that would require the use of two different ballots, depending on how a voter was registered. Under the system, voters who registered with federal registration forms would be allowed to vote only in federal elections, while those who used state forms and showed proof of citizenship would be allowed to vote in federal, state and local contests. The move is expected to affect 900 people and cost an extra $250,000 in Maricopa County alone. The shift, triggered by an opinion Monday from state Attorney General Tom Horne, was immediately labeled as a restriction on voting rights. But Horne and Secretary of State Ken Bennett said the move is necessary to comply with an Arizona voter mandate as well as federal law. The new procedure singles out the several thousand Arizonans who registered to vote using the federal registration form, which does not require documents to prove U.S. citizenship. Those voters are eligible to vote only in federal elections, Horne wrote, with the next opportunity being in August, when all nine congressional seats are on the ballot.
Arizona officials will seek to ban residents from voting in statewide races if they can’t prove citizenship — a move that critics called vindictive in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said the state couldn’t require such documentation to cast ballots for federal offices. The change was announced Monday by Attorney General Tom Horne and Secretary of State Ken Bennett, both Republicans. “Because Arizona law requires a registration applicant to provide evidence of citizenship, registrants who have not provided sufficient evidence of citizenship should not be permitted to vote in state and local elections,” Horne wrote in an opinion that was intended to give guidance on how to conduct the 2014 elections. The Supreme Court in June struck down part of a 2004 voter-approved state law that required proof of legal U.S. residency to vote in any Arizona elections.
Arizona is renewing its bid to let election officials here demand proof of citizenship from everyone registering to vote, paving the way for yet another lawsuit. In a letter to the acting executive director of the Election Assistance Commission, state Attorney General Tom Horne demanded that she allow Arizona to require that those registering to vote using a commission-designed form first show they are citizens. Horne told Alice Miller he expects action by Aug. 19 or he will sue. But Nina Perales, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said Horne should not expect approval. She said the commission staff rejected an identical request in 2005, a decision left intact by a 2-2 vote of the panel itself. And Perales insisted nothing has changed since then. Horne said if that happens he will seek court review. The fight concerns a 2004 voter-approved measure which requires both proof of citizenship to register and identification to cast a ballot at the polls. Foes challenged both.
Arizona is renewing its bid to let election officials demand proof of citizenship from everyone registering to vote, paving the way for yet another lawsuit. In a letter to Alice Miller, acting executive director of the Election Assistance Commission, state Attorney General Tom Horne demanded she allow Arizona to require proof of citizenship from those registering to vote using a commission-designed form by Aug. 19 or he will sue. Nina Perales, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said Horne should not expect approval. She said the commission staff rejected an identical request in 2005, a decision left intact by a 2-2 vote of the panel itself. And Perales insisted nothing has changed since then. If that happens, Horne said he will seek court review.
Monday marked yet another Supreme Court showdown for Arizona and the Obama administration. At issue, this time, was the state’s Proposition 200 measure, which requires voter registration applicants to provide documentation proving U.S. citizenship. Critics of the measure say the state has no authority to go beyond what’s required on the simplified federal voter registration form. On the federal form applicants must check a box indicating U.S. citizenship, sign attesting to that fact and drop the form in the mail. Arizona officials, citing hundreds of cases of non-U.S. citizens registering to vote, say additional barriers need to be put in place. Under Proposition 200, applicants can present a number of various documents, including driver’s license, birth certificate and certain Native American tribal documents. “If somebody’s willing to fraudulently vote, that person would be willing to sign falsely,” said Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who argued the case Monday. “We need evidence that the person is a citizen,” he added.
National: U.S. Supreme Court justices ask tough questions on voter registration law | Arizona Republic
The U.S. Supreme Court’s nine justices lobbed a volley of tough questions at Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne on Monday as he argued for the state’s voter-registration law aimed at keeping illegal immigrants off the voter rolls. At stake is Proposition 200, a law passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2004, that asks Arizonans who want to vote to provide documentary proof of citizenship, such as a copy of a driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, tribal identification card or naturalization number. The law goes beyond what federal voter-registration rules require for proof. The law inflamed the immigration debate when it was passed and was almost immediately challenged by voting-rights advocates as burdensome to the young, elderly, minorities or naturalized citizens and to voter-registration organizations. Supporters touted the law as a check against voter fraud.
Our state’s history of voter suppression provides a context for Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court arguments on Arizona’s 2004 voter-ID law. Ditto for election bills in Arizona’s Legislature. It’s not ancient history. The un-sunny side of Arizona was revealed at Senate hearings when Republican William Rehnquist was named to the Supreme Court in 1971. Rehnquist denied allegations that he personally challenged minority voters at the polls. But he told the Senate he witnessed Republican poll challenges in 1962 that “struck me as amounting to harassment and intimidation.” Stuff happened. And it wasn’t so long ago. And now? Two of today’s most effective strategies to increase Latino voter participation are under attack in Arizona’s GOP-controlled Legislature. … Election-law changes may be necessary. Too many people had to cast provisional ballots in November because they were on the early voting list but showed up at the polls to vote instead of sending in their ballot. But changes in election laws should be enlightened by history. All voters have not been treated the same, and all voters are not going to be affected equally by changes.
Arizona: Proof of citizenship voter registration requirement heads to Supreme Court | Arizona Capitol Times
To Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, the state law requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration is “common sense,” not a burden. To opponents, Arizona’s Proposition 200 is just another obstacle that would restrict access to the polls for the young, elderly and minorities. The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in this month in a hearing that will be watched closely by voting rights advocates and by several other states with similar laws. At issue in the March 18 hearing is a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said federal law trumped state law on voter registration requirements. The appeals court said in April that voters could use a federal mail-in registration form, established by the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which only requires that they attest to their citizenship through a signature.
The U.S. Supreme Court on March 18 will hear arguments surrounding Arizona’s 2004 voter-approved requirement that residents show proof of citizenship when they register to vote. In the case surrounding Proposition 200, state attorneys will ask the high court to overturn a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said the state cannot require Arizona voters to provide documents when registering with the federal form, but it can require voters registering with the state form to do so. Among its provisions, the National Voter Registration Act creates a standard federal registration form that all states must accept. It requires applicants to sign a statement that they are citizens, but it does not require them to show any proof.
Arizona: Attorney General to pitch Supreme Court on voter proof of citizenship | East Valley Tribune
Attorney General Tom Horne will argue to the nation’s high court on March 18 that Arizona should be allowed to enforce a 2004 voter-approved law requiring people to provide proof of citizenship to register to vote. The justices are reviewing a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said Arizona cannot refuse to register voters who do not provide proof of citizenship if they instead fill out a special registration form prepared by the federal Election Assistance Commission. That form requires only that the person avows, under oath and penalty of perjury, that he or she is eligible to vote. A 2004 voter-approved measure requires both proof of citizenship to register and identification to cast a ballot at the polls. Foes challenged both. The courts sided with the state on the ID at polling places requirement. While that remains a legal issue in some states, opponents of the Arizona law never appealed that decision and it will not be an issue when the U.S. Supreme Court looks at the law in March. But the appellate court had a different view on the citizenship-proof requirement.
Three days after the Nov. 6 election, when many Americans happily made voting a memory, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that some legal experts say could lead to the biggest shake-up in voting law in nearly a half-century. The court will weigh a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, a law that has changed little over 40 years and for decades has placed Arizona and eight other states under federal scrutiny for suspected discrimination. Supporters of the lawsuit, which involves an Alabama county, say their efforts could once again put every state and locality on equal legal footing and evaluate anew whether minorities are treated unfairly anywhere.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear arguments on Arizona’s law that requires people to show proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The case involves Proposition 200, which voters approved in 2004, and adds to the election-related cases pending before the nation’s top court. In this case, state attorneys want the court to overturn an appeals-court ruling that has created a two-track system for voter registration: a state form that requires people to produce documents proving citizenship, and a federal form that requires no documents but instead requires people to attest they are citizens, under penalty of perjury. An individual can use either form to register to vote in Arizona elections.
A federal judge has given state and county election officials until the end of the month to finally comply with a court order to make sure that alternate voter registration forms are readily available – forms that do not require proof of citizenship. Judge Roslyn Silver rejected claims by Attorney General Tom Horne that all election officials need to do to comply with her order is accept the federal voter registration form if someone actually finds one and fills one out. Horne said the state has no obligation to actually provide those federal forms. Instead, the judge said the state and counties “shall ensure widespread distribution of the federal form through all reasonable channels.” And she said that, by the end of the month, election officials must make that form available “where they make the state form available, including websites.”
Arizona: Supreme Court declines to let Arizona require citizenship proof from voters | Tucson Sentinel
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday for a lower court ruling that would stop Arizona election officials from rejecting voter registration forms that do not have evidence of citizenship. Arizona has been requiring proof of citizenship with voter registration forms since 2005, shortly after voters passed Proposition 200. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April ruled that the proof-of-citizenship requirement conflicted with federal voter registration law. The Supreme Court had stayed that decision earlier this month at the request of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who was planning a challenge to the lower court decision. The justices Thursday, without comment, lifted that stay, clearing the way for the circuit court to issue an order banning the practice of requiring citizenship proof. That order is likely to come in the next week, said attorneys involved in the case.
Arizona: Voter ID law opponents ask Supreme Court to let lower court’s rejection stand | Arizona Capitol Times
Opponents of Arizona’s voter identification law asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to let a lower court decision take effect that would end the state’s requirement of proof of citizenship for voter registration. Justice Anthony Kennedy last week ordered a temporary stay of that ruling in response to state officials who said the decision, coming “on the eve of a new election cycle,” would have thwarted Arizona’s ability to “ensure fair federal elections.” Kennedy gave opponents of the law until Monday to file a response to the stay. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has until Wednesday to reply. Arizona has been requiring proof of citizenship since 2005, after the passage of Proposition 200. That law requires county recorders to reject any voter registrationform without proof of citizenship and it requires people to present identification when they show up to vote.