AG’S OFFICE: GAYNOR OFF THE MARK ON CONSENT DECREE
AG’s office spokesman Ryan Anderson rejected Republican secretary of state hopeful Steve Gaynor’s claims that a consent decree that Reagan’s office entered into will make it easier for illegal immigrants to vote. Anderson told our reporter that the AG’s office, which had to sign off on the consent decree, would never have agreed to anything that would make it easier for non-citizens to vote. “We’re not here to fight any other elected official’s public battles. But if there’s one thing that’s consistent about every election cycle, it’s that candidates are going to stretch the facts for political gain,” Anderson said.
The consent decree ended a lawsuit that the League of United Latin American Citizens filed against Reagan and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes in November. Under the pre-existing system, people who couldn’t provide proof of citizenship were permitted to vote only in federal elections, and could register to vote solely with a form provided by the federal government.
In its lawsuit, LULAC argued that rejecting state voter registration forms from people who didn’t show proof of citizenship violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and that the system disenfranchised tens of thousands of people who are still eligible to vote in federal elections in Arizona. So, the consent decree allows people who don’t have proof of citizenship to register to vote using state forms, as well, though they will still only be permitted to vote in federal elections. Anderson said the state likely would have continued to lose if litigation continued, and that signing the consent decree was the right thing to do from both a legal and fiscal standpoint.
The consent decree protects Arizonans’ voting rights, said Anderson, who argued that it actually makes it harder for non-citizens to vote because the computerized registration system used by the secretary of state’s office will be checked against the MVD’s database to determine whether voters are permitted to cast ballots in both state and federal elections. “I can’t speak to the soundbites and the rationale and what the argument is. I’ve seen the commercials, and I’m not really quite sure what the analysis is based upon. I haven’t been at any district meetings or anything like that where I’ve heard a detailed explanation of how the settlement somehow makes it easier for noncitizens to vote in elections,” Anderson said of Gaynor’s claims.