Prop. 200 decision a 'complete surprise'
Elections department will start retraining poll workers in wake of ‘No ID required’ ruling
KINGMAN - A recent decision creating a stay for the Proposition 200 voter identification requirements has thrown a kink in the system as elections departments around the state gear up for the November election.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco decided Thursday to grant an appellant's emergency motion to temporarily stay the identification requirements. Currently, according to Joseph Kanefield, state election director within the Secretary of State's Office, the order notes that the ID requirement at the polls will not be in effect for the Nov. 7 general election nor will proof of citizenship be required to register to vote.
Kanefield said the attorney general is currently working on the state's options for appeal.
The decision has altered the tide for elections departments across the state about month away from the election.
Mohave County Election Department Director Allen Tempert said the announcement was a complete surprise. While he said he was aware of a court action, he did not think it would actually be considered. However, he said preparations must be made.
"I just go in the direction I am told," he said, "and that direction has changed. We've been teaching poll workers and the public that identification-at-the-poll requirements were in effect for the March, May and September elections. The public caught on pretty well about this and the poll workers did a good job in making sure the requirements were followed."
Unfortunately, Tempert said, after all of the training that has been done, they will now have to do an about-face.
All of the correspondence Tempert has received, he said, indicates that ID will not be required at polls on Nov. 7. The most frustrating thing, he said, is the possibility of it being reversed yet again. Consistency must be considered.
"This is very alarming to have the Court of Appeals in San Francisco stay these voting measures as passed by the people of Arizona," Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer said last week. "The fact is we very successfully implemented identification at the polls during September's primary election without a hitch. Given our recent success of ID at the polls, the timing of this decision could not be worse. I can't help but be very concerned about the extreme confusion this will potentially create in retaining poll workers and re-educating the general public so close to the upcoming General Election."
According to last week's U.S. Newswire release, the plaintiffs who filed the emergency motion include: the Intertribal Council of Arizona, Inc., The League of Women Voters of Arizona, The Hopi Tribe, The League of United Latin American Citizens, The Arizona Advocacy Network, The People For the American Way Foundation and Rep. Steve M. Gallardo.
Plaintiffs contend that the voting restrictions would disenfranchise numerous voters, especially minorities and the elderly. Requiring voters to acquire identification is burdensome, they said, in time, money and effort. It also hinders voter registration drives, they said.