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Goddard to ask Supreme Court to allow voter ID law

Attorney General Terry Goddard (File photo)

Following a refusal of a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to block Arizona’s voter identification requirements until further notice, Attorney General Terry Goddard will petition the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the rules to be used in the general election.
On Oct. 5, Judges A. Wallace Tashima and Betty Binns Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted an injunction against the regulations filed by attorneys for the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and a host of other minority and civil rights groups.
In 2004, Arizona voters changed state law to require voters show identification at the polls when they vote.
The civil rights groups allege the identification requirements hamper voter registration drives and place needless hardship on the poor, the elderly, and minorities because the requirement of government photo identification such as a driver’s license amounts to a poll tax.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, election officials were also permitted to accept other forms of identification such as current utility and telephone bills, vehicle registration, bank or credit union statements, a voter ID card or a sample ballot that is mailed to all voters.
The Attorney General’s Office is expected to file with the Supreme Court at the end of the week, said Andrea Esquer, a spokeswoman for Mr. Goddard.
Secretary of State Jan Brewer expressed dismay last week of the court’s initial decision to stop the identification provisions passed by Arizona voters in 2004.
“I’m very concerned that two judges in San Francisco would overturn the will of a million voters,” she told the Arizona Capitol Times.
The requirements have survived several challenges in federal court, most recently a pre-primary Sept. 11 test before Judge Roslyn Silver in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona is joined in the litigation by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, League of United Latin American Citizens, Arizona Advocacy Network, Arizona Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican-American Legal and Educational Fund.
The Ninth Circuit issued no written opinion with its Oct. 5 ruling, but stated the identification requirements would not be implemented until the court issues a ruling on the appeal presented by the critics of the necessity of voter identification.
David Rosenbaum, a local attorney involved with the suit against Prop 200’s effects on voting and voting registration, said that a ruling before the November general election would be “very unlikely.”

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