WASHINGTON - October 26 – "On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that Arizona's new voter ID
laws -- requiring photo IDs and proof of citizenship -- will remain
in place for the November 7 elections," says Alex Keyssar, a
professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. "Although
the Supremes took no position on the legal issues that will
ultimately determine whether Arizona's law is constitutional, they
overturned an injunction issued by a lower court that would have
suspended the law for the current election."
The director of the Arizona Advocacy Network, Linda Brown, said
today: "By reinstating the ID requirements, the Supreme Court has
challenged us to document the extent of disenfranchisement that
occurs at the polls on November 7. We now have less than two weeks to
put together a volunteer statewide poll-monitoring program. ... We
are asking the courts to allow our volunteers to be credentialed as
non-partisan monitors inside the polling places."
The president of the League of Women Voters of Arizona, Bonnie
Saunders, said today: "We believe that as citizens we need to act now
in order to stop disenfranchisement."
ALEX KEYSSAR, email@example.com. Keyssar is the Stirling Professor of History and Social Policy at
the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the author of the
book "The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the
United States." He said: "The rationale for such laws is that they
are needed to prevent fraud -- although almost nowhere have the laws'
sponsors been able to document the existence of significant fraud
occurring because non-legal voters have pretended to be, or
impersonated, legal voters. (A Minnesota study found that there were
32 non-citizens registered to vote, out of more than 3 million.) ...
What's happening here is an effort to give strict (and perhaps
unnecessarily strict) procedural regulations the same moral authority
as laws -- such as the Voting Rights Act -- that support a
fundamental democratic value: the right to vote. It's a clever
rhetorical move -- and one that should make our democratic alarm bells go off."
LINDA BROWN, firstname.lastname@example.org. Brown is the director of the Arizona Advocacy Network. She said
today: "Under the guise of preventing undocumented immigrants from
voting, the proponents of this law have disenfranchised tens of
thousands of legitimate Arizona voters. ... For example many senior
citizens do not drive and do not have valid driver's licenses. Many
women have birth certificates with their maiden names, which can
cause problems. Many elderly people do not have birth certificates.
Some were born at home! Very few people have passports. Obtaining any
of these documents requires time, effort and money."
BONNIE SAUNDERS, email@example.com.
Saunders is the president of the League of Women Voters of
Arizona. She said today: "We see the new requirement as a form of
poll tax. The new requirement means that you have to buy something in
order to vote [you have to buy these documents which cost money]. In
the March primary, in one county, 300 people were turned away because
they could not produce the necessary documents -- 75 percent of those
who were turned away did not return to verify their citizenship and
most of them were women over the age of 65."
Saunders added: "There are very few documented instances of voter
fraud by non-citizens, perhaps less than 10 in the past decade in
Arizona. However, this last summer and fall about 20,000 people were
dropped from the voter rolls because they could not produce the
required documents. I do not think Arizona voters meant to
disenfranchise citizens, but this is what's happening right now. I'm
a historian and I see similarities with the period after the Civil
War when the black people first won the right to vote and then lost
it through state laws that put impediments on their right to vote.
... The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the merits of the case...."