Supreme Court Decision Jeopardizes Right To Vote in Arizona

Supreme court vacates Arizona prop. 200 injunction

October 20, 2006

PHOENIX, AZ - Today, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated an injunction ordered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Gonzalez v. Arizona, the challenge to voting restrictions in Arizona (PDF). The Supreme Court's decision means that the November 7, 2006 election will go forward with onerous proof of identity requirements for voters at the polls and also that people who seek to register to vote will have to provide documentary proof of citizenship. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) represents Maria Gonzalez, the lead plaintiff in the case, as well as other Latino individuals and organizations challenging the law.

“Not all voters possess the kind of identification demanded by Proposition 200. Many of them will be turned away from the polls on election day as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision,” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel. MALDEF sought to remove new requirements to show voter identification and also “proof of citizenship” requirements for voter registration that have prevented thousands of voter applicants from being placed on the rolls for the upcoming elections.

Proposition 200, passed in November 2004, was touted as a law to prevent non-citizens from voting. In reality, it contains a number of restrictions that apply only to U.S. citizens seeking to vote. The law requires that before being allowed to register to vote, U.S. citizens must produce a government document proving their citizenship and all voters must now show identification before they are allowed to vote at the polls.

MALDEF filed the case on May 9, 2006 on behalf of individual voters and voter registration applicants as well as the following organizations: Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, Valle del Sol, Friendly House, Chicanos Por La Causa and the Hispanic Forum. Danny Ortega, of the law firm of Roush, McCracken, Guerrero, Miller & Ortega is co-counsel with MALDEF in the case.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

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