Appeals Court Says No to Prop 200's Burdensome Voter ID Requirements

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 5 granted an emergency motion to enjoin Arizona’s Proposition 200, halting implementation of the law’s burdensome voter identification and proof of citizenship requirements for the upcoming general election.

“This is a major victory for Arizonans and for all Americans who care about the right to vote,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas. “Before this ruling, many citizens might have been denied the chance to cast their vote in November. Now we have a month to make sure voters know their rights and are confident that they won’t be unfairly turned away at the polls.”

Neas said the kind of burdensome voter identification requirements imposed by Proposition 200 and being considered across the country – including a measure passed in the U.S. House of Representatives – are a false solution to a non-existent problem.

“Despite all the talk of fraud, there is no real evidence that non-citizens trying to vote have ever been a serious problem,” said Neas. “But there is plenty of evidence that these rules erect barriers that will keep eligible Americans from exercising their most fundamental right of citizenship. That is the real threat to the integrity of our elections.”

When thousands of Arizonans’ voter registrations were rejected due to Proposition 200’s requirement that voters provide proof of citizenship with their registration, People For the American Way Foundation joined local, state and national organizations to protect Arizonans’ right to vote.

The nonpartisan Election Protection coalition, led by People For the American Way Foundation, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the NAACP, monitored the effects of Proposition 200 in Maricopa County in a special election in March, distributing Voters’ Bills of Rights, providing assistance through the 1-866-OUR-VOTE toll-free hotline, and assisting voters at the polls. In May, People For the American Way Foundation filed suit, along with The Hopi Tribe, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Representative Steve Gallardo and the Arizona Advocacy Network. MALDEF also filed suit against Prop. 200; the courts consolidated the two lawsuits.

The Election Protection coalition will again be assisting Arizona voters in the November 7 general election.

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