Sunday, November 27, 2005

Arizona voters experiencing GOP voter disenfranchisement

Voters tangled in new ID law
So far, improper documents already have resulted in more than 12,000 people being turned away from registering in Maricopa and Pima counties since January. Though some of those would-be voters were able to return later with proper documentation, county elections officials say it is a sign that Arizonans do not understand the identification requirements.

Pima County Registrar of Voters Chris Roads said 199 people were turned away just before Tucson's Nov. 8 municipal election because identification questions could not be resolved by the registration deadline.

Nonetheless, the identification rules were the best that Secretary of State Jan Brewer, Gov. Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Terry Goddard and the U.S. Department of Justice could agree on after lengthy negotiations. Supporters of Proposition 200 argued for the toughest measures possible.

Federal officials approved the plan despite objections by Roads and others that it could disenfranchise some voters.

"Republican Party leaders are very much in favor of the ID requirement . . . because of the view that this will impact Democratic voters more," Roads said. Yet when he explained at a recent GOP meeting that problems producing valid ID could affect voters of both parties, Roads said, "people were visibly shocked."

Tom Irvine, a Phoenix attorney who represents Democrats and Republicans in elections-related litigation, called the plan "an unmitigated disaster." He predicted a voter backlash and political fallout next year if many ballots go uncounted as a result.
Even many older citizens drivers licenses are not acceptable as valid ID in a looming but GOP preferred disaster.

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