Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Arizona Attorney General Tom "banned for life by the SEC" Horne and Arizona Secretary of State Ken "Birther" Bennett have conspired with nativist anti-immigrant activist and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to devise a "two-tier" voter registration system in their Neo-Confederate temper tantrum for "states' rights!" against the federal government. Creating two separate classes of voters based solely upon the registration form used violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and is an overt act of voter suppression.
Today the New York Times takes notice, After Court Ruling, 2 States Plan 2-Tier Voting System:
Barred by the Supreme Court from requiring proof of citizenship for federal elections, Arizona is complying — but setting up a separate registration system for local and state elections that will demand such proof.
The state this week joined Kansas in planning for such a two-tiered voting system, which could keep thousands of people from participating in state and local elections, including next year’s critical cycle, when top posts in both states will be on the ballot.
The states are using an opening left in June by the United States Supreme Court when it said that the power of Congress over federal elections was paramount but did not rule on proof of citizenship in state elections. Such proof was required under Arizona’s Proposition 200, which passed in 2004 and is one of the weapons in the border state’s arsenal of laws enacted in its battle against illegal immigration.
The two states are also jointly suing the federal Election Assistance Commission, arguing that it should change the federal voter registration form for their states to include state citizenship requirements. While the agency has previously denied such requests, the justices said the states could try again and seek judicial review of those decisions.
The two-tiered system — deemed costly, cumbersome and prone to confusion by many of its opponents, as well as election officials in both states — threatens to derail an effort by Democrats and their allies to increase voter registration and turnout among Latinos and the poor, part of a push by the party to pick up local offices and seats in the states’ legislatures, where policies have been largely dictated by Republicans in recent years. The states would create separate ballots covering only federal races for voters who do not provide proof of citizenship.
“It’s another veiled attempt at discouraging young voters, low-income voters, Latino voters from entering the electoral process,” said Petra Falcón, executive director of Promise Arizona in Action, one of the groups leading voter-registration efforts here.
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Matt Roberts, spokesman for the Arizona secretary of state, Ken Bennett — who, like Mr. Horne, is a Republican — said the small numbers [of voters affected] do nothing to lessen the challenge of adding another ballot to a system already full of them, each based on variants like party affiliation, voting precinct, and legislative and Congressional districts.
“We have a hard enough time already to get people to go to the right voting place,” Mr. Roberts said. “The last thing any poll worker wants is to have to tell someone who might be voting for the first time why they can’t vote for governor.” He said Mr. Bennett supports requiring proof of citizenship but wants it for all elections.
Since Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act in 1993, allowing people registering to vote to assert their citizenship simply by checking a box on a federal form, Mississippi and Illinois are the only states to have experimented with dual voting systems. Both of them imposed registration requirements for state and local races that went beyond federal ones.
Those experiments did not last. An Illinois appellate court ruled the state’s system unconstitutional because it was too restrictive. Mississippi ran up against a provision of the Voting Rights Act, requiring it and eight other states, including Arizona, to get federal approval before changing election laws. That provision [Section 5 preclearance], at the heart of the civil rights era legislation, was struck down by the Supreme Court in June.
Advocates for easier voting said they feared Arizona and Kansas could propel other states toward two-tiered systems. “We really hope that is not the start of a trend,” said Dale Ho, director of the voting rights project at the American Civil Liberties Union.
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In Kansas, part of the strategy among Democratic-aligned groups had been to use the federal registration form, figuring it would keep citizens from having to abide by the state form’s requirements imposed this year, like submitting any of a number of documents — birth certificate, passport, naturalization papers — to prove citizenship.
Now, for state elections, people who fail to provide the proper documentation will have their voter registrations suspended until they do; so far, more than 18,000 have been suspended, or about one-third of all voters registered this year in Kansas.
The Kansas secretary of state, Kris W. Kobach, a former chairman of the state’s Republican Party, said he decided to suspend the registrations — not revoke them altogether — so people could still fill out forms at voter registration drives and send the documents later. Ultimately, he said, the two-tiered system is a “contingency plan” in case Kansas and Arizona do not prevail against the federal Election Assistance Commission in court.
Mr. Ho said such dual voting methods create “separate and unequal classes of voters, and there’s no rational justification for that.”
For county officials in charge of elections, they impose a financial challenge and a logistical nightmare.
Jamie Shew, a Democrat and the clerk in Douglas County, Kansas’ fifth largest, said his office already offers 125 different types of ballots for all local elections, but would have to provide double that number if it were to offer a separate ballot for federal races only, at 34 cents apiece. In Phoenix, the Maricopa County recorder, Helen Purcell, a Republican, estimates the cost of creating the new ballots to be $250,000, or roughly 5 percent of her office’s entire budget for the current fiscal year.
Workers would also have to be hired and trained to distribute the ballots and field questions from voters, they said.
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Ms. Falcón, of Promise Arizona, said “It’s hard enough already to get people to register,” she said. “This dual-voting system is only going to add to the confusion on Election Day.”
These Tea-Publicans are creating mass confusion, a financial burden and logistical nightmare in pursuit of a solution in search of a problem that does not exist: their fear that there is massive "voter fraud" by noncitizens. There is quite literally no evidence to support this unhinged fear. An exhaustive study of all 50 states by the investigative reporting project "News21" did an analysis, including a searchable database of all known election fraud cases in the country since 2000, turned up just 10 cases of voter impersonation.Out of 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.
Arizona Secretary of State Ken "Birther Bennett testified to Congress in December 2012 that "Arizona has prosecuted 15 cases of voter fraud in the last 18 months or so. Those cases all stemmed from people who double-voted in prior presidential elections in both Arizona and another state." The Arizona Republic (December 19, 2012). In other words, "snowbirds" voting by mail-in ballots, not noncitizens impersonating voters at the polls. In-person impersonation of a voter at the polls is virtually non-existent.
But this pair of Yahoos wants to create a financial burden and logistical nightmare all in the name of pursuing their Neo-Confederate temper tantrum for "states' rights!" against the federal government. If you thought the 2012 election had problems with wait times and slow reporting of results, wait until you see what this idiotic plan does to compound the problem. Hopefully a lawsuit can block this insane nonsense.
And hoepfully neither one of these Yahoos will be employed in government after November 2014.