Monthly Archives: April 2011

Positive Step for Secretary Bennett’s Planned Defense of Citizenship

Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to grant a rehearing on Gonzalez v. Arizona before the entire membership of the court, (en banc) comes as great news to many, including Secretary of State Ken Bennett who promised to defend Arizona’s Proposition 200 all the way to the Supreme Court.

Proposition 200, when passed by Arizona voters in 2004, required that voter registration applicants provide documentary proof of citizenship. In addition it required that voters provide proof of identity at the polls on Election Day.

Today’s decision to grant the petition for a rehearing en banc by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is encouraging. Arizonans obviously believe that people should provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote and we are pleased that the court may reconsider its decision.

Last October, the 9th Circuit in San Francisco struck down Arizona’s requirement that residents provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. Proposition 200 was passed by Arizona voters in 2004 and helps make sure that only eligible people vote in elections. The Court ruled that a federal voter-registration law supersedes Arizona’s requirement.

What seems like common sense to most of us, others feel is a burdensome requirement. The previous decision by the 9th Circuit was an outrage, and I thought was a slap in the face to Arizonans who are concerned about the integrity of our elections. There isn’t a corner of this state where people are not concerned with voter fraud and opposition to the simple act of providing proof that you are legally eligible to participate in our elections is incomprehensible.

Those registering to vote in Arizona are required to provide one of the following documents: a driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, tribal identification or naturalization certification number. Voters seeking to register online must provide a driver’s license number, which is verified through Arizona’s motor vehicle system.

Not expecting either side to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court is like not expecting hot summer days in Phoenix. Today’s decision is just another step along that path and we’re prepared to fight for Arizona’s right to fair and fraud free elections.


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Voter Registration Climbs to 3.2 Million in Arizona

Just as Arizona’s number of congressional districts will increase, so has the state’s number registered voters. The latest voter registration figures show an increase of 63,307 since last year’s general election.

People are taking advantage of our EZ voter programs where they can register online instead of standing in line. Combined with the state’s early voting system where people can request a mail in ballot, the entire process is more efficient and convenient than ever before.

Since last year’s general election, the number of voters who have registered with independent parties or have not designated a party preference has risen by 48,023 to 1,030,500, while Republicans and Democrats have added 10,243 and 4,187 respectively.

Libertarians make up a little less than one percent of the state’s total registration with 24,941, while 5,105 voters are currently registered as members of the Green Party. This puts total voter registration for the state at 3,209,725.

Important choices lie ahead. Whether citizens are registering for the first time or have just re-registered, they have taken the first step toward exercising one of our most fundamental rights. The right to vote.

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Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence: New Program Announced

Domestic violence continues to be one of the most troubling problems facing society. Oftentimes, the perpetrator has a tendency to seek out the person who had the courage to press charges, to inflict more mental or physical harm.

To help protect victims from this cycle of abuse, I worked with the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence and state legislators; Andy Tobin, Katie Hobbs, Jeff Dial, Michele Reagan, Linda Gray, Kimberly Yee, Steve Gallardo, Krysten Sinema, and John McComish to establish the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), which was signed into law by Governor Brewer today.

The new program will allow, by December 2012, victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse or stalking to keep their residential addresses confidential by giving them a substitute address of the Secretary of State’s office.

Domestic violence is a devastating crime, often causing irreparable harm, that no one should ever fall victim to. We must do everything we can to not only prevent domestic violence in the first place, but also do all we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Under the new law, the Secretary of State’s office can receive first-class, certified or registered mail on behalf of program participants and forward it at no charge. The program is funded by a $50 assessment levied on persons convicted of these crimes.

Domestic violence victims need to know that Arizona is serious about protecting them from further acts of violence or intimidation. Domestic violence has no place in our society and this program can provide an additional layer of protection from their abusers.

This bill was a collaborative effort from the start. Representative JD Mesnard spearheaded the legislation in the House and Senator Frank Antenori provided the leadership in the Senate. Combined with the passionate input of the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence and consent of Governor Brewer, we’ve got a new state program that benefits a vulnerable group of people who really need our help.

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Good idea or bad idea?

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