DNC, Arizona Democrats Take Legal Action Against Republican Voter Suppression

In a new demand letter, DNC and ADP call on the state of Arizona to end voter protection violations in S.B. 1819

Today, the Democratic National Committee and the Arizona Democratic Party are taking legal action against the state of Arizona after the Republican legislature passed S.B. 1819, which takes authority away from professional election officials and gives that authority—including the power to deny Arizonans their right to vote—to whomever the partisan majority in the legislature chooses, possibly even an unaccountable private entity.

Issues like this one are of deep, direct, and urgent concern to President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris, who have asked the Democratic National Committee to prioritize them. As President Biden stated at the National Constitution Center, “election subversion” and efforts to replace “independent election administrators who work for the people [with] polarized state legislatures” are the “most dangerous threat to voting and the integrity of free and fair elections” in history.

In a demand letter sent today, the DNC and Arizona Democratic Party notified the state that it must address S.B. 1819’s violations of the federal protections for registered voters established by the National Voter Registration Act and the United States Constitution, or else face a federal lawsuit. 

“To further the Big Lie, Republicans have attempted to subvert our elections and interfere with Americans’ fundamental freedom to vote,” said DNC Chair Jaime Harrison. “Rather than leaving elections to election professionals, Arizona’s Republican legislature has granted itself the power to appoint a private party to unilaterally disqualify voters without even giving them notice. This undemocratic move is a clear violation of federal law. That is why the Democratic Party is putting Republicans on notice: if you infringe on the right to vote, we will step up and fight back to protect voters and their rights.”

Arizona Republicans are so upset they lost that they’re trying to rewrite election rules instead of changing their extreme policies,” said Arizona Democratic Party Chair and State Representative for Legislative District 30 Raquel Terán. “Arizona Democrats are proud to join the DNC’s legal action to make sure that voters, not far-right politicians, get to choose who represents them. We are fighting to make sure that every voter has the freedom to make their voice heard.”

Additional Background on the DNC and ADP’s Legal Action:

S.B. 1819 was enacted as part of the Arizona state budget process in June 2021. It gives the state legislature power to designate a private party to review the rolls of Arizonans permitted to vote in federal elections—and to determine the eligibility of those registered according to whatever process it desires. The private party then may direct the secretary of state and county election officials to strike the registration of voters who have already been deemed eligible without proper notice. No role is permitted for local election officials who have already verified that voter’s eligibility. In sum, the law grants to a private party selected by the majority in the legislature the expansive power to determine who may vote and who may not; it imposes no standards or limits on that power.

S.B. 1819 violates the National Voter Registration Act because it does not have a standard by which eligibility is determined nor does it provide notification to voters that their registration is in jeopardy. It also violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, both because it deprives voters of the right to vote without notice and an opportunity to contest the basis of their removal from the rolls, and because it impermissibly allows Arizonans’ fundamental right to vote to be compromised by an unaccountable private party selected by the legislature.