New York Times on Arizona’s ‘two-tier’ voter registration

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

AZConfederacyArizona Attorney General Tom "banned for life by the SEC" Horne and Arizona Secretary of State Ken "Birther" Bennett have conspired with nativist anti-immigrant activist and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to devise a "two-tier" voter registration system in their Neo-Confederate temper tantrum for "states' rights!" against the federal government. Creating two separate classes of voters based solely upon the registration form used violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and is an overt act of voter suppression.

Today the New York Times takes notice, After
Court Ruling, 2 States Plan 2-Tier Voting System
:

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.


The
two-tiered system — deemed costly, cumbersome and prone to confusion by
many of its opponents, as well as election officials in both states

threatens to derail an effort by Democrats and their allies to increase
voter registration and turnout among Latinos and the poor, part of a
push by the party to pick up local offices and seats in the states’
legislatures, where policies have been largely dictated by Republicans
in recent years. The states would create separate ballots covering only
federal races for voters who do not provide proof of citizenship.

“It’s
another veiled attempt at discouraging young voters, low-income voters,
Latino voters from entering the electoral process,” said Petra Falcón,
executive director of Promise Arizona in Action, one of the groups leading voter-registration efforts here.

* * *


Matt
Roberts, spokesman for the Arizona secretary of state, Ken Bennett —
who, like Mr. Horne, is a Republican — said the small numbers [of voters affected] do nothing
to lessen the challenge of adding another ballot to a system already
full of them, each based on variants like party affiliation, voting
precinct, and legislative and Congressional districts.

“We
have a hard enough time already to get people to go to the right voting
place,” Mr. Roberts said. “The last thing any poll worker wants is to
have to tell someone who might be voting for the first time why they
can’t vote for governor.”
He said Mr. Bennett supports requiring proof
of citizenship but wants it for all elections.


Since
Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act in 1993, allowing
people registering to vote to assert their citizenship simply by
checking a box on a federal form, Mississippi and Illinois are the only
states to have experimented with dual voting systems. Both of them
imposed registration requirements for state and local races that went
beyond federal ones.

Those
experiments did not last. An Illinois appellate court ruled the state’s
system unconstitutional because it was too restrictive
. Mississippi ran
up against a provision of the Voting Rights Act, requiring it and eight
other states, including Arizona, to get federal approval before
changing election laws. That provision [Section 5 preclearance], at the heart of the civil rights
era legislation, was struck down by the Supreme Court in June.

Advocates
for easier voting said they feared Arizona and Kansas could propel
other states toward two-tiered systems. “We really hope that is not the
start of a trend,” said Dale Ho, director of the voting rights project
at the American Civil Liberties Union.

* * *

In
Kansas, part of the strategy among Democratic-aligned groups had been
to use the federal registration form, figuring it would keep citizens
from having to abide by the state form’s requirements imposed this year,
like submitting any of a number of documents — birth certificate,
passport, naturalization papers — to prove citizenship.

Now,
for state elections, people who fail to provide the proper
documentation will have their voter registrations suspended until they
do; so far, more than 18,000 have been suspended, or about one-third of
all voters registered this year in Kansas
.

The
Kansas secretary of state, Kris W. Kobach
, a former chairman of the
state’s Republican Party, said he decided to suspend the registrations —
not revoke them altogether — so people could still fill out forms at
voter registration drives and send the documents later. Ultimately, he
said, the two-tiered system is a “contingency plan” in case Kansas and
Arizona do not prevail against the federal Election Assistance
Commission in court.

Mr.
Ho said such dual voting methods create “separate and unequal classes
of voters, and there’s no rational justification for that.”


For county officials in charge of elections, they impose a financial challenge and a logistical nightmare.

Jamie
Shew, a Democrat and the clerk in Douglas County, Kansas’ fifth
largest, said his office already offers 125 different types of ballots
for all local elections, but would have to provide double that number if
it were to offer a separate ballot for federal races only, at 34 cents
apiece. In Phoenix, the Maricopa County recorder, Helen Purcell, a
Republican, estimates the cost of creating the new ballots to be
$250,000, or roughly 5 percent of her office’s entire budget for the
current fiscal year.

Workers would also have to be hired and trained to distribute the ballots and field questions from voters, they said.

* * *

Ms. Falcón, of Promise Arizona, said “It’s
hard enough already to get people to register,” she said. “This
dual-voting system is only going to add to the confusion on Election
Day.”

These Tea-Publicans are creating mass confusion, a financial burden and logistical nightmare in pursuit of a solution in search of a problem that does not exist: their fear that there is massive "voter fraud" by noncitizens. There is quite literally no evidence to support this unhinged fear. An exhaustive study of all 50 states by the investigative reporting project "News21" did an analysis, including a searchable database of all known election fraud cases in the country since 2000, turned up just 10 cases of voter impersonation.Out of 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time,
those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective
voters.

Arizona Secretary of State Ken "Birther Bennett testified to Congress in December 2012 that "Arizona has prosecuted 15 cases of voter fraud in the last 18 months or
so. Those cases all stemmed from people who double-voted in prior presidential
elections in both Arizona and another state." The Arizona Republic (December 19, 2012). In other words, "snowbirds" voting by mail-in ballots, not noncitizens impersonating voters at the polls. In-person impersonation of a voter at the polls is virtually non-existent.

But this pair of Yahoos wants to create a financial burden and logistical nightmare all in the name of pursuing their Neo-Confederate temper tantrum for "states' rights!" against the federal government. If you thought the 2012 election had problems with wait times and slow reporting of results, wait until you see what this idiotic plan does to compound the problem. Hopefully a lawsuit can block this insane nonsense.

And hoepfully neither one of these Yahoos will be employed in government after November 2014.

One response to “New York Times on Arizona’s ‘two-tier’ voter registration

  1. Frances Perkins

    Republican logic. Look we can’t win elections on our principles, and you have taken away pur good voter suppression methods, one-county one vote, literacy tests, and the poll tax, so we have to use what the activist Supreme Court gave us. Voila, a two tiered voting system.

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