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Arizona: Woman, 97, Battles Voter ID Law PDF  | Print |  Email
By KPHO News 5 Phoenix   
June 10, 2008
This article was posted at KPHO News 5 Phoenix.

A 97-year-old Surprise, AZ  woman who has voted in the past 19 presidential elections said she finds herself a casualty in the voter ID battle.

Shirley Preiss cannot register in Arizona for the November elections without proof of citizenship.

"I'm a legal American," Preiss said. "I'm born here. Born and raised in America."

The Arizona law was approved by voters in 2004 as Proposition 200 on that years general election ballot. It requires voters to produce specified types of identification when casting ballots at polling places and to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote either for the first time or in a different county.

Preiss was born in 1910 in Clinton, Ky., before birth certificates were issued. She said she no longer has a driver's license and never had a passport.

"You can see my mother's not a national threat," said her son Nathan Nemnich. "Been voting since 1932." Nemnich produced the files documenting his attempts to get her registered.

"A delayed birth certificate," he said. "You have to have witnesses. Everybody's dead."
Arizona and Justice Department Reach Settlement on Federal Voter Registration Law Implementation PDF  | Print |  Email
By Demos Press Release   
May 22, 2008
Lawsuit Over Section 7 of National Voter Registration Act Avoided

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Arizona's Department of Economic Security (DES), the state's public assistance agency, have entered into an agreement to ensure the state's compliance with Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993.  Section 7 of the NVRA requires state public assistance agencies to offer the opportunity to register to vote, and related voter registration services, when clients apply for benefits, recertify eligibility, or change their addresses.  After investigating DES, the Department of Justice found "substantial non-compliance with Section 7 of the NVRA" and threatened to sue.  (Agreement PDF at Rather than litigate, DES and DOJ agreed to settle the matter outside of court.
Miles Rapoport, president of Demos, a non-partisan public policy center engaged in a national campaign to work with states to fully implement Section 7 of the NVRA, released the following statement:
"We applaud the Department of Justice for taking serious steps to enforce this important provision of the National Voter Registration Act, as the statute requires it to do, in the state of Arizona.  Several years have passed since the Justice Department has settled or filed any lawsuit against a state for failure to provide voter registration services at public assistance agencies despite widespread evidence of such violations across the nation.  In fact, DOJ last acted on NVRA Section 7 compliance problems through a lawsuit filed in Tennessee in 2002.
Arizona: Databases for Elections Released to Democrats PDF  | Print |  Email
By Garry Duffy, Tucson Citizen   
January 12, 2008
Pima County Elections Division officials Friday turned over the computer databases for the 2006 elections to the Pima County Democratic Party, as directed by the Board of Supervisors earlier this week.

Democrats sought the databases - electronic records of the county's Diebold-GEMS voting system and ballot tabulating procedures - to look for irregularities that might show vote tampering.

Party officials also plan to use the information to create a tool that will automatically analyze elections systems and vote tabulations for aberrations that could point to elections fraud.

The Democrats prevailed in a lawsuit filed last year seeking the databases.

Elections officials and County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry had refused their request to examine them.

The surrender of the databases to a political party as part of their role as official elections observers may set a precedent.

"This is the biggest release of electronic data files ever in this country," said John R. Brakey, one of the computer experts assisting the Democrats in their case.

Read the Entire Article at The Tucson Citizen
Arizona: Judge Orders Election Database Release PDF  | Print |  Email
By Tom Ryan, Arizona Citizens for Fair Elections   
December 19, 2007

Download Court Ruling


After a four day trial, Superior Court Judge Michael Miller today ordered the 2006 Primary and General election GEMS database files, both .mdb and .gbf, be released to the Pima County Democratic Party.
The Party brought suit after Pima County denied the public records request.

The judge denied the release of ALL past Pima County database files, as requested by the Party. However, he left open the possibility of releasing more database files after analysis of the released files.

The judge recognized that the political parties have a role in observing election and protecting election integrity, and in Pima County, the Elections Division has made a lot of changes in response to recommendations by the Democratic Party. The judge ruled that the election database is just a document containing data and is not part of the GEMS computer program as Pima County had claimed.

The county tried to show that security would be compromised by releasing the databases. The judge concluded that there is a small risk but it is outweighed by the public interest in having additional
scrutiny of the election database. He also noted that prior release of other GEMS databases (e.g. Alaska) has had no detrimental effects.

Arizona Lawsuit a Crystal Ball Into 2008 Presidential Vote Count PDF  | Print |  Email
By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet   
December 18, 2007

Whether Americans will be able to verify electronic vote counts in 2008's presidential election will vary from state to state, as underscored by a little-noticed lawsuit that goes to trial this week in Pima County, Ariz., where Tucson is located.


This article was published at AlterNet and is reposted here with permission of the author.


There, in a fast-growing region, the local Democratic Party is suing the Pima County Board of Supervisors -- including its three Democratic members -- to release the complete electronic records of a 2006 election that included a ballot question on raising taxes for a $2 billion transportation bond. The measure, favored by developers, won even though it lost in prior elections and was trailing in pre-election polls.


The county's Democratic Party and local election integrity activists believe pro-growth local officials may have tampered with the electronic vote count to win. They have sworn evidence a long-time county employee who tallies the electronic vote totals took home backup tapes of the 2006 vote and accessed those vote count files before the official election results were announced. It is seeking the complete electronic voting record to determine if vote count fraud occurred.


"We are asking to get a database," said William Risner, attorney for the Election Integrity Committee of the Pima Democratic Party. "It is not our goal (in this trial) to attempt to prove that anything has happened. We want the data that would help us show that. What we are trying to do is establish our right to get the data and do an analysis. And certainly the fact they are fighting tooth and nail suggests that they have something to hide."

League of Women Voters: Arizona's Efforts Will Disenfranchise Voters PDF  | Print |  Email
By League of Women Voters Press Release   
October 09, 2007

Download Arizona Sexcretary of State Jan Brewer's Statement at EAC Hearing


Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer today announced that she will sue the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to force the commission to accept an ID requirement as part of the federal mail voter registration application form.

"The League strongly opposes this move," said Mary G. Wilson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. "We all understand that an ID requirement will undermine voter participation, especially by older women, minorities, and persons with disabilities," she said.

"We had hoped that using states' rights as a way to disenfranchise American voters was a thing of the past," Wilson said. "It is disturbing that any public official could be comfortable knowingly disenfranchising voters," stated Wilson.

Arizona Proposition 200 Decision, Another Strike Against the NVRA and Voter Participation PDF  | Print |  Email
By Project Vote Press Release   
August 31, 2007
The federal district court in Arizona has just granted partial summary judgment to Arizona in Gonzalez v Arizona. The disappointing decision upholds the part of Proposition 200, a 2004 anti-voter and immigrant rights initiative which requires voter registration applicants to provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The only acceptable proof of citizenship include: a copy of a state driver’s license issued after October 1, 1996, birth certificate, passport, Indian identification, or original naturalization papers. The decision found that the initiative does not violate the National Voters Registration Act (NVRA) and does not create a poll tax.

The district court decision was not surprising because it relied on a 9th Circuit Court of Appeal decision denying a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs. However, both courts ignored the language, legislative history and intent of the NVRA.

The language of the NVRA specifically sets forth what can be required on a voter registration application. It even addresses the citizenship issue by requiring applicants to check a box affirming citizenship. Granted, the NVRA does not specifically say that proof of citizenship is prohibited, but it also does not say individuals cannot be required to provide fingerprints and retina scans before registering. Is that next?
For Once the "Winner" Wants All the Votes Counted Too PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
November 19, 2006

In a refreshing departure from the norm, the presumed loser of Arizona's 5th Congressional District race has conceded but the presumed winner has refuse to declare victory until all the votes are counted.


Incumbent Republican J.D. Hayworth conceded a week after the election, trailing Democratic challenger Harry Mitchell in the still incomplete count by 6,499 votes out of over 184,000 ballots cast. But according to the Arizona Republic, Mitchell has waited to declare victory out of respect for the vote-counting process. He said Tuesday night that despite his opponent's concession, he will continue to wait.

"The county recorder is still counting the votes," he said. "I don't want anyone to think their vote did not count."


So often the initial election night results of a close race establish a "presumed winner-sore loser" perception that dictates how the candidates conduct themselves during the canvassing and any recount process. In a shrewd political move Democrat Jim Webb declared victory in his bid to unseat Virginia Senator George Allen within hours of the polls closing on election night, long before all the ballots were counted or the canvassing even contemplated. Allen conceded three days later, though plenty of questions remained about the accuracy of the vote announced vote totals, no doubt based on a political judgment that since recount or contest was unlikely to change the outcome, it was unwise to take the risk of being perceived as a "sore loser".

Arizona: Count the Votes - But Don’t Close the Courts or Get Rid of the Lawyers PDF  | Print |  Email
By Bob Bauer   
October 25, 2006

This article appeared on Bob Bauer's Blog. It is reposted here with permission of the author.


Additional views continue to emerge in the discussion of the Supreme Court’s decision in Purcell v. Gonzalez, and two, in the last day, consider more generally the timing of judicial intervention in elections. The Court did note that "Court orders affecting elections, especially conflicting orders, can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls," and that "as an election draws closer, that risk will increase." So Rick Hasen, who has written previously on the subject, restates his view that pre-election litigation is to be preferred over post-election litigation lest partisans await the outcome before deciding, on the basis of the vote count, to press their claim. At the Moritz College of Law site, Professor Steven Huefner examines the varieties of and justifications for pre-election litigation, concluding that courts should not hesitate to grant final relief on a full record in the pre-election record or preliminary relief tending to limit election day confusion. 


These views are united around the objectives of protecting confidence in the electoral process and defending against political gamesmanship by partisans pursuing victories in court that could not be won at the polls. But are such concerns overrated? 

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