All Voting is Local, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Campaign Legal Center call for necessary changes to protect access to the ballot

PHOENIX – With election officials making voting changes amid concerns about coronavirus, All Voting is Local, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Campaign Legal Center are urging Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Mark Brnovich to create and make public a statewide crisis action plan for the Presidential Preference Election on Tuesday, March 17 by extending early voting, and notifying voters directly of changes in their polling places through television ads and public service announcements. In addition, advocates will inform voters of polling place changes and continue to support voters experiencing polling place problems through the nonpartisan voter hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE. 

“In light of the severity of the public health risk and the constitutional right to vote, we suggest the following immediate changes to ensure that Arizonans, statewide, are able to cast ballots without risking their health or unintentionally causing harm to others,” the groups write in the letter. “If you believe you do not have the authority to take such steps, we encourage you to seek a court order to protect the fundamental rights of voters and the public health of our communities in Arizona.”

The Maricopa County Elections Department announced today it is closing 80 polling places and state officials announced increased sanitation measures at polling places. More inclusive, statewide action is required to further address the safety of Arizona’s voters and possible widespread disruption of the election on Tuesday. The groups are calling for:

  • A deadline extension and expansion of early and emergency voting
  • Use of emergency funds for advertising and direct voter communication concerning changes, and extended means of ballot collection and submission.
  • Reimbursement for all boards of elections to purchase hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant for machines, hand wipes, and portable hand-washing stations

The letter to the governor, secretary of state and attorney general can be found here.

Advocates will continue to support voters through outreach to as many impacted Arizonans as possible. Digital efforts will encourage voters to check their polling place in advance of March 17.

Last week, All Voting is Local and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights launched “And Still I Vote,” a national call to action to overcome discriminatory barriers to voting, such as polling place closures, and to help ensure that all eligible voters get to cast a ballot and have it counted.