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ACLU writes letter to Ariz. elections officials demanding transparency

ACLU writes letter to Ariz. elections officials demanding transparency

CREATED Nov 9, 2012

Web Producer: Mekita Rivas

PHOENIX (KGUN9-TV) - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona sent a letter to county and state elections officials on Friday expressing its concerns that the state's voter identification law may be resulting in a disproportionate impact on minority voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

"Arizona's voters deserve an election system that works, and works equally for every eligible voter who comes to the polls," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona in a news release. "At the very least, we have the right to know whether our ballots were verified and counted in a timely manner, and, if not counted, the reasons why. These questions must be answered."

According to the Arizona Secretary of State, as of Nov. 8, there were more than 630,000 ballots yet to be counted, of which more than 160,000 were provisional ballots.

Of those, about 115,000 provisional ballots were cast in Maricopa County (compared to 99,826 in 2008) and 26,194 provisional ballots were cast in Pima County (compared to 17,912 in 2008).

For several years, the ACLU-AZ has voiced concerns about the provisional ballot process. A 2010 ACLU-AZ report, Uncounted Votes, which compiled data on provisional balloting in the 2008 election from five counties, found that thousands of provisional ballots were rejected simply because they were cast in the wrong precinct, even though voters were legally registered.

"Arizona should not disenfranchise eligible voters because of administrative technicalities or inefficient practices, and we must ensure that no community is disproportionately impacted," Soler said.