Daily Archives: March 8, 2018

Kris Kobach and his ‘proof of citizenship’ law on trial

GOP voter suppression specialist, Kris Kobach, is unbelievably the Secretary of State of Kansas. He is the author of  the so-called “Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act,” Prop. 200 in 2004, provisions of which require proof of citizenship to register to vote and presenting a photo I.D. to receive a ballot.

In 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council, held that the requirement to provide proof of citizenship to register to vote is invalid as preempted by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) — but the requirement to provide voter identification at the polling place is valid. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in a 7-2 decision, with Justice Antonin Scalia delivering the Court’s opinion, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that Arizona’s proof of citizenship requirement is preempted by the NVRA.

Kris Kobach had enacted a similar law in Kansas, the Kansas Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act in 2011.

The response of Kobach to the Supreme Court ruling, along with a series of hanger-on Arizona Secretaries of State, all Republicans, was to set up a dual voter registration system, one for the NVRA federal voter registration form which would allow citizens to vote only in federal races (denying them their right to vote in state and local races),  and one for state voter registration forms, that require proof of citizenship, and allow voter to vote in all races and ballot measures.

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Washington is the tenth state to adopt automatic voter registration. Whither Arizona?

At the start of this year, nine states had adopted universal (automatic) voter registration.

AVR 2017 Map

The State of Washington will become the tenth state, and the states of New Jersey and Nevada are in the que. Whither Arizona? This should be the issue in the Arizona Secretary of State race this year.

Steve Benen reports, Automatic voter registration poised to reach another state:

[T]he Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law noted yesterday, the [automatic voter registration] policy will soon be the law in a fifth of the states.

Washington is set to become the latest state to automatically register citizens to vote at state agencies. The State House and Senate agreed on language and passed the legislation today. […]

Under the bill, Washingtonians who apply for or renew an enhanced driver’s license at the Department of Licensing will automatically be registered to vote unless they decline. The bill also requires public assistance agencies to move toward automatic voter registration, and for the state’s health benefit exchange to implement electronic voter registration.

According to the Brennan Center, the bill in the state of Washington is now headed to Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who is expected to sign it into law.

The Evergreen State will then join Oregon, California, Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Georgia, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Vermont as states that have adopted AVR.

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Yet Another Scheme to Raid School Funding

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

An article titled, “Proposed GI Bill Model For K–12 Schools Would Impact Arizona Education Funding” by Claire Caufield on KZJJ.org recently caught my attention. Ah…coming to a state near us I thought, the latest school privatization effort to be shoved down our throats. Evidently, the conservative Heritage Foundation has written policy that would make all children of active-duty military members eligible to receive education savings accounts (ESAs) to attend private schools. These ESA would provide “from $2,500 to $4,500 annually to help parents send their child to a private or online school or to pay for tutoring and special education services.”

The idea of ESAs for military children is not new, we already have that in Arizona. What is new, is that the proposal calls for the funding to come from Impact Aid, a fund established by Congress in 1950 to assist districts with the cost of educating children who live on federal lands, and therefore don’t pay local taxes that support the districts. “Today, Impact Aid is disbursed to schools connected to tribal lands, military bases, low-rent housing and other federal properties.”

“Because of the state’s high number of students on tribal lands, Arizona districts received $169 million last year in Impact Aid, the highest total in the country. Over $11 million was for children of military and uniformed services families, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.” Continue reading

Outlaw Dirty Money initiative launched

The latest effort to regulate dark money in Arizona elections comes from the ballot initiative organization Outlaw Dirty Money. See, outlawdirtymoney.com.

This is a bipartisan (nonpartisan) ballot measure promoted by Republican state Rep. Noel Campbell, Paul Johnson, an independent and former Phoenix mayor, Republican Tom Horne, a former Arizona superintendent of public education and attorney general, and Democrat Terry Goddard, a former Phoenix mayor and Arizona attorney general.

They recently published this op-ed in the The Arizona Republic. Why we’re fighting to keep dirty money out of Arizona elections:

Do Arizona voters have the “right to know” who is funding campaigns for and against candidates and propositions? We believe the answer is unquestionably yes.

However, in recent elections huge sums from carefully hidden sources (or “dirty money”) have been spent on Arizona election campaigns.

Secret manipulators of our elections can hide their identity because Arizona law makes it easy. We believe it is time to declare our right to know once and for all by putting it in the Arizona constitution.

Our Outlaw Dirty Money constitutional amendment, if approved at the polls in November, will ensure that we know what person or corporation was the original source of all major contributions seeking to influence an Arizona election.

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#RedForEd protest a successful first step

Arizona teachers wore red to school Wednesday in protest of what many described as the state’s lethargic response to a teacher crisis that’s driven thousands of qualified educators out of the classroom. Arizona teachers wear red, talk strike amid frustration over low wages:

A group of Arizona teachers spontaneously organized the #RedForEd grassroots effort — which has spurred talks on social media of a possible strike — over the weekend.

Thousands of the state’s classroom teachers participated. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 20,000 people had joined Arizona Educators United, a closed Facebook page teachers created Sunday for the demonstration.

On social media, teachers, parents, supporters, school board members and administrators wrote notes of encouragement and shared pictures of themselves draped in red and touting the hashtags #RedForEd and #AZWhatIsThePlan.

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