Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes is spoiling for a fight over voter-registration procedures meant to keep undocumented immigrants from voting. The newly elected Democrat says the restrictions may have denied as many as 58,000 U.S. citizens in Maricopa County the right to vote, a fear critics of the law argued at the U.S. Supreme Court. So Fontes is changing the process immediately. “We are not in the business of creating obstacles to citizens to exercise their constitutional rights,” Fontes told The Arizona Republic. But experts say his new process could break the law.
The statute “seems pretty clear-cut to me,” said Republican election attorney Joe Kanefield, who was state elections director in the Secretary of State’s Office when the law was passed. “If a voter-registration form is received and does not contain evidence of citizenship, the registrar shall reject it.”
Not one to shy away from conflict, Fontes said he’s itching for a court fight. “They can bring it,” he said. “… I’m not interested in the status quo. I’m interested in doing what’s right.”
Even if that means going against state statute? “That’s what they said during slavery,” he replied.