Arizona Capitol Times: Advocacy group says Arizona misleads ex-felons on voting rights

Rachel Leingang
Feb 7, 2018
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Arizona’s voter registration forms don’t adequately tell people with a felony about their voting rights, potentially disenfranchising scores of people, an election-law advocacy group claims.

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In a letter to Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, the Campaign Legal Center said the forms imply all people with felonies have to go through a process to get their voting rights restored.

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The state voter registration form says people can’t register to vote in Arizona if they “have been convicted of a felony and have not yet had civil rights restored.” The federal form for Arizona, housed with the Election Assistance Commission, uses similar language. The Campaign Legal Center said this doesn’t inform people with one felony that their voting rights have automatically been restored by state law.

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Danielle Lang, an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center, told the Arizona Capitol Times the group plans to look at all 50 states’ voter registration forms to make sure they accurately represent the law on felony voting rights. So far, the group looked at six states, one of which was Arizona, and found deficiencies in the forms in all six of the states, Lang said. Delaware already responded to the Campaign Legal Center’s letter and said it would be changing its forms. The project seeks to help the huge numbers of people with felony convictions by improving voter registration forms in a way that clearly informs them of their rights and makes sure people understand “they can and should be part of our electorate,” Lang said. There’s a misconception in the public at large that all felons aren’t eligible to vote, which is not true, and the state registration forms are a mess when it comes to helping people determine if they can vote, Lang said.

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