Though the U.S. Supreme Court barred Arizona from requiring proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections, Attorney General Tom Horne (R-AZ) announced Monday that state and local elections will keep the tougher voter registration requirements in place. This creates a two-tiered system in which about 1,400 Arizona voters will be excluded from 2014 state elections because they have only used the federal voter registration form.
According to Cronkite News, produced by the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, most of these disenfranchised voters are concentrated in urban Democratic strongholds around Tucson and Phoenix. As many as 1,300 registered voters, or 92 percent of the total number of disqualified voters, come from Pima County and Maricopa County. These second-class voters affirmed their citizenship on the federal registration form, but did not provide an additional proof of citizenship, such as a driver’s license or naturalization certificate.
Native Americans and Latino Americans are more likely than other voters not to have easy access to the required documents to prove their citizenship, making them more likely to become second-class voters under Arizona’s new system.
Local boards of election must print two separate ballots, with one “federal only” ballot that Maricopa County said would cost taxpayers $250,000. State Sen. Steve Gallardo, (D), warned that the new system will inevitably wreak havoc on already chaotic election procedures. “It’s going to confuse voters,” he told Cronkite News. “This is a logistical nightmare for our clerks and county recorders throughout the state.”
Arizona’s 2014 elections will decide the state’s new governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and other top posts.