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Trial Begins in Federal Court Challenge to Unconstitutional Voter Registration Procedures in Arizona


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Khaula Zafar, kzafar@fairelectionscenter.org

Mariam Ahmed, fairelections@berlinrosen.com, (832) 387-7782


PHOENIX, AZ (November 6, 2023) – Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona heard a lawsuit from civic engagement organizations Poder Latinx, Chicanos Por La Causa and Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund challenging Arizona laws that empower election officials to unlawfully disenfranchise eligible voters, particularly naturalized citizens. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by Fair Elections Center, the law firm of Arnold & Porter, and the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest argues that these new citizenship investigation procedures for voter registration violate federal law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the National Voter Registration Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments.


HB 2492 and HB 2243, which were passed in 2022, instruct county recorders to use outdated and unreliable government databases to investigate the citizenship status of voter registration applicants and registered voters. The challenged laws require election officials to reject registration forms or cancel registrations based on this inaccurate “information” regarding citizenship and conduct extra citizenship checks based on any “reason to believe” a voter is not a U.S. citizen. Effectively creating a presumption against naturalized voters’ eligibility to vote, these vague directives will make it harder for naturalized Arizonans to register and stay registered to vote.


“Arizona’s new election laws are discriminatory and invite explicit bias into our election processes. Poder Latinx stands with our community here in Arizona to reject any action that will discourage everyday Americans from participating in elections,” said Nancy Herrera, Arizona State Program Director of Poder Latinx.


“Voter-suppression laws never have the term ‘voter suppression’ in their title, but if that is either the intention or the impact of a law or bill targeting our community, we will challenge it on our community’s behalf,” said Joseph Garcia, Executive Director of Sí Se Vota CPLC Action Fund and Vice President of Public Policy at Chicanos Por La Causa.


“The laws on trial this week are a recipe for arbitrary and discriminatory treatment reminiscent of the worst Jim Crow registration barriers,” said Jon Sherman, Litigation Director at Fair Elections Center. “Arizona law allows election officials to rely on hearsay, personal biases and unreliable databases in evaluating registered voters’ eligibility, and this will deter and disenfranchise lawfully registered voters.”


”There is no right more important in our democracy than the right to vote,” said Danny Adelman, Executive Director at the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. “These laws infringe on that right and must be struck down. We are proud to help in this effort.”


“We will prove that Arizona’s new laws are constitutionally defective and invite harassment of new citizens registering to vote,” said John A. Freedman, Arnold & Porter’s Senior Pro Bono Counsel. “We are proud to stand with our clients and co-counsel in this important challenge.”



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Poder Latinx is dedicated to building a sustained progressive voting bloc of Latinx voters in key states across the country. Through our work, we empower and equip the Latinx community to become agents of change now.


Fair Elections Center is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and election reform organization based in Washington, D.C. using litigation, public education and advocacy to remove barriers to registration and voting, particularly those disenfranchising underrepresented and marginalized communities.

The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest is a nonprofit law firm that defends the civil and legal rights of Arizonans by defending our democracy and pursuing cases with enduring social, public health, and environmental impacts statewide.

Arnold & Porter combines sophisticated regulatory, litigation, and transactional capabilities to resolve clients’ most complex issues. With over 1,000 lawyers practicing in 15 offices worldwide, we offer deep industry experience and an integrated approach that spans more than 40 practice areas. Through multidisciplinary collaboration and focused industry experience, we provide innovative and effective solutions to mitigate risks, address challenges, and achieve successful outcomes.

Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and community development organization formed in 1969 to fight discrimination against the Mexican-American community. CPLC’s mission is to drive the political and economic empowerment of Latinos through key impact areas, including, education, housing, health and human services, and economic development.

Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit advocacy organization operated independently from Chicanos Por La Causa. Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund was created to further the Chicanos Por La Causa mission to advance Latino success through advocacy. Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund’s advocacy efforts include community-based activism, events focusing on social justice and equity issues, and lobbying and leverage of elected officials and leaders.Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund also works to engage Latino voters through voter registration, voter education, and Get Out The Vote efforts.



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