Democrats Settle Election Dispute with the State of Arizona
September 10, 2016
The Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Ann Kirkpatrick for Arizona, the Arizona Democratic Party, Hillary for America, and Sanders, Inc., announced that they reached a settlement in their joint lawsuit against Maricopa County, Arizona that will make it easier for residents to vote.
Maricopa County miscalculated voter turnout and underestimated the number of vote centers needed to accommodate voters during the March presidential primaries. In the federal lawsuit, Democrats proffered a line expert explaining why Maricopa County’s allocation formulas were wrong, and offered a number of remedies. In response to the Democrats' motion for an injunction, Maricopa County represented to the Court that it would be implementing many of those suggestions. In addition, as part of the settlement agreement, Maricopa County agreed to consider further recommendations from line experts to better ensure that voters will not again be subject to unacceptably long lines as a result of unsupported allocation decisions.
The settlement does not resolve the Democrats’ claims that criminalizing ballot collection and rejecting out of precinct ballots are unconstitutional and violate the Voting Rights Act. Those claims will be decided by a federal court.
“This is a great victory for Arizonans, and for our democracy. The right to vote is our most fundamental right – the right that protects all of our other rights – and Democrats will never waver in ensuring that each and every eligible citizen can be heard at the ballot box. We know that long lines depress turnout. If a mother is forced to choose between waiting in line for hours to vote, or picking up her kids from daycare, the vote is going to lose every time. Stories like that were all too common in last spring’s election. It was wrong then, and it is easily avoidable in the future.
“Thanks to this agreement, we are more confident than ever that nobody—no woman, working person, person with a disability, or person of color—will have to make such a choice in Maricopa again. And we will remain vigilant in protecting these rights in every county across the nation,” said Donna Brazile, Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
“This is terrific news for voters in Arizona who were forced to deal with long lines and burdensome wait times earlier this year. Fair and equal access to the ballot box is a right that cannot be abridged, and we are pleased to have successfully protected that right for more Arizona voters,” said Tom Lopach, Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“Today’s agreement starts to resolve the issues that plagued the State of Arizona during our Presidential Preference Election. In the best interest of the voters, Maricopa County has agreed to refine their formulas to determine the number of polling locations, and thus increase voting accessibility to Maricopa County residents. We hope to resolve the remaining issues in our suit, but for now, the Arizona Democratic Party remains committed to making sure eligible Arizona voters are able to register to vote, cast their vote, and ensure their vote will be counted,” said Alexis Tameron, Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.
“Arizona voters should never be forced to wait hours in a line to vote. This settlement is a strong step to prevent voters in Maricopa County from being disenfranchised by the unacceptable mistakes of this past March. Today is a positive day in my continuing fight to protect and guarantee the fundamental right to vote for all Arizonans regardless of their background or where they live,” said Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.