FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan 27, 2020
PHOENIX, State Capitol - House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez released the following statement regarding today's federal appeals court reversal of Arizona's 2016 law that criminalized volunteers who help early voters by picking up and turning in their ballots. The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita's House Bill 2023 violated the Voting Rights Act. The ruling also struck down Arizona's law that disqualifies election-day provisional ballots cast by voters who mistakenly . showed up at the wrong polling place. Fernandez testified as a witness against the new law in federal court.
"This is a victory for Arizona voters. It was wrong to make criminals out of volunteers who only goal was to help get out the vote in neighborhoods that haven't traditionally had real representation. This bill was a trap set by fearful Republicans to keep tens of thousands of economically disadvantaged, overwhelmingly Latino and often first-time registered early voters, from casting ballots. It also impacted thousands of homebound and elderly voters. Instead of reaching out and trying to persuade these communities to support them, Republicans chose instead to disenfranchise as many of these voters as possible with the law. It's time to move forward and encourage as many eligible voters as we possibly can to cast ballots in 2020."