PHOENIX, AZ – In advance of the general election, advocacy groups including the League of Women Voters of Arizona, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, and Promise Arizona are urging Arizona voters to check that their voter registration information is up to date and accurate. By Secretary Michele Reagan’s own estimate, 384,000 people did not have their voter registration addresses updated in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) when they made an address change with the Motor Vehicle Division. As a result, voters who recently moved may find that they are not on the rolls at the precinct corresponding to their home address. In addition, voters who vote by mail may have their ballot sent to an old address.
The deadline for voter registration in Arizona is October 9, 2018. Eligible voters who are not registered or need to update their address can do so online through the ServiceArizona website: https://servicearizona.com/voterRegistration. Voters already registered to vote at their current address need not re-register.
As a result of the Secretary’s admitted failure to update voter registration records in compliance with the NVRA, the League of Women Voters of Arizona, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, and Promise Arizona sued Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan in August. The plaintiffs sought a court order requiring the Secretary of State to take certain steps to help potentially impacted voters in time for the November 2018 elections. While the court declined to order the Secretary to take any steps before the 2018 election, Secretary Reagan and the Arizona Department of Transportation have stated that they intend to fix these violations next year as part of computer systems upgrades scheduled for 2019.
Plaintiffs also reached an agreement with public assistance agencies that failed to offer voter registration services to citizens over the past year, as required by the National Voter Registration Act. In August, as part of the agreement, the agencies sent voter registration forms to 275,000 voters who had contact with these agencies between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. Clients of these agencies can use these forms to register to vote or update their voter registration before the October 9, 2018 voter registration deadline.
The plaintiffs are represented in the case by Demos, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU of Arizona, and the law firm Bryan Cave Leighton & Paisner LLP.
“We are disappointed that the federal court denied the request for interim relief in this case even though the court recognized that the Secretary of State is violating the NVRA by not performing address updates for voter registration records,” said Sarah Brannon, a senior attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. “We urge all registered voters in Arizona to check the status of their voter registration and make sure that they are registered to vote at their current address.”
“By failing to take even minimal steps to remedy her admitted violation of federal law, the Secretary of State leaves hundreds of thousands of Arizona voters at risk of losing their right to vote,” said Stuart Naifeh, senior counsel at Demos. “Now civic engagement groups and voters themselves will have to pick up the slack to be sure registered voters are not denied the right to vote because the Secretary failed to do her job.”
“Delaying actions until next year, after midterm elections, is unacceptable for our communities. We need solutions that allow people to participate in elections—this should go without saying for the Secretary of State. We are disappointed in this dismissive approach towards voters,” said Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota.
“The League of Women Voters wants to ensure all eligible voters have the opportunity to have their voices heard in this upcoming midterm election. Unfortunately, 384,000 voters’ voices may not be heard because of the Secretary of State’s failure to remedy her violations,” said Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer, co-President, League of Women Voters of Arizona. “We encourage all voters concerned that their registrations may be out of date to check the status of their registration,” which they can do at https://voter.azsos.gov/VoterView/RegistrantSearch.do.
Approximately 80 percent of Arizona voters vote by mail, with most of those registered on the state’s Permanent Early Voting List. Voters on the Permanent Early Voting List who have recently moved may not receive their ballots unless they update their voting address before October 9, 2018. This can be done at https://servicearizona.com/voterRegistration. After that date and through October 26, 2018, early voters can request a new early ballot by calling their local election officials or calling the AZ SOS at 1-877-THE VOTE (877-843-8683).
Voters who have moved within the same county and miss the deadline to update their address may still vote at the precinct corresponding to their new address, but they will be required to vote by provisional ballot. Voters can find the correct precinct for their new address online at https://voter.azsos.gov/VoterView/PollingPlaceSearch.do or by calling the non-partisan Election Protection hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).
Arizona voters can obtain assistance, in English or Spanish, with voter registration, address updates, requesting an early ballot or finding their polling location by calling 866-OUR-VOTE (English) or 888 Ve-Y-Vota (English/Spanish).