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Case Name League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Arizona v. Michele Reagan VR-AZ-0053
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-04102-DGC ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Case Summary
On November 7, 2017, the League of United Latin American Citizens of Arizona (LULAC-Arizona) and the Arizona Students’ Association (ASA) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. The plaintiffs sued the Secretary of State of Arizona (the Secretary) and ... read more >
On November 7, 2017, the League of United Latin American Citizens of Arizona (LULAC-Arizona) and the Arizona Students’ Association (ASA) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. The plaintiffs sued the Secretary of State of Arizona (the Secretary) and the Maricopa County Recorder (the County Recorder) under the National Voter Registration Act and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the Campaign Legal Center and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, sought a declaration that the policies of the Secretary violated the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Specifically, the plaintiffs wanted the Secretary to (1) register voters to vote in federal elections regardless of whether they provide documentary proof of citizenship (DPOC); (2) match voters’ data with driving records to verify citizenship before rejecting voters for state and local elections; (3) refrain from requiring voters to re-submit DPOC when they moved counties, and subsequently to re-register; and (4) notify potential voters that they can register to vote in federal elections without DPOC. The plaintiffs claimed that there was undue burden on their right to vote and equal protection. Specifically, LULAC-Arizona and ASA alleged that Arizona treated voter registration applicants differently depending on whether they used Arizona’s state registration form (the “State Form”) or the national registration form (the “Federal Form”), and that Arizona’s arbitrary dual voter registration policies irrationally disenfranchise thousands of eligible Arizona voters, and furthered no legitimate state interests.

On December 29, 2017, the Secretary responded to the plaintiffs’ claims and denied that Arizona’s voter registration policies violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments or are otherwise illegal under state or federal law. The Secretary asserted that Federal and State Form applicants were not similarly situated for equal protection purposes. The Secretary asserted that Arizona was constitutionally permitted to require those applying to register to vote using the State Form to personally provide DPOC at the time that they submit their State Form. The Secretary further asserted that there was no constitutional or statutory requirement that Arizona election officials register applicants for federal elections when they have chosen to use the State Form to register to vote rather than the Federal Form. On January 29, 2018, the Court ordered a settlement conference to take place before Judge Eileen S. Willett.

According to the later filed Consent Decree, after reviewing the applicable law, the Secretary and County Recorder concluded that current technology can treat State Form applications the same as Federal Form applications, which would make it easier for Arizona’s citizens to register to vote while also providing important safeguards to prevent unlawful voter registration. On 8 February 2018, the Secretary and County Recorder notified LULAC-Arizona and ASA that they wanted to get to an agreement that would resolve the underlying litigation and also benefit Arizona’s citizens.

On June 4, 2018, the parties jointly filed a Consent Decree. They agreed that within thirty days after the entry of the Consent Decree, the Secretary was to revise the Procedures Manual to incorporate the terms of the Consent Decree, to provide guidance to the County Recorders to accept State Form applications submitted without DPOC, to enter all such applications in the Database, to immediately register the applicants for federal elections, and to check all State Form applications submitted without DPOC against the MVD database. The Secretary was also to make reasonable efforts to better educate the citizens of Arizona concerning their opportunities to register to vote, and to update their website to explain that: (1) the State Form requires valid DPOC for state elections only; (2) submission of a sufficiently complete State Form with valid DPOC will make the applicant a Full Ballot Voter; (3) submission of a sufficiently complete State Form without DPOC will make the applicant a Fed Only Voter; (4) the Federal Form does not require DPOC; (5) submission of the Federal Form without valid DPOC will make the applicant a Fed Only Voter; and (6) submission of the Federal Form with valid DPOC will make the applicant a Full Ballot Voter.

On June 18 2018, Judge David G. Campbell approved the consent decree and retained jurisdiction over the case until December 31, 2020 to ensure the decree’s terms were followed. As of September 2018, the parties are still negotiating attorneys’ fees.

Dawn Lui - 10/03/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Voting
Voting access
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
State Plaintiff
Voting
Voter id
Voter registration rules
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
National Voter Registration Act ("Motor Voter law"), 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg
Defendant(s) Maricopa County Recorder
Secretary of State of Arizona
Plaintiff Description League of United Latin American Citizens of Arizona (LULAC-Arizona) and the Arizona Students’ Association (ASA)
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2018 - 2020
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2:17-cv-4102 (D. Ariz.)
VR-AZ-0053-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunction Relief [ECF# 1]
VR-AZ-0053-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/07/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Setting Settlement Conference [ECF# 26] (D. Ariz.)
VR-AZ-0053-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Entry of Consent Decree [ECF# 36]
VR-AZ-0053-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/04/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 37] (D. Ariz.)
VR-AZ-0053-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/18/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Campbell, David G. (D. Ariz.)
VR-AZ-0053-0004 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Willett, Eileen S Court not on record [Magistrate]
VR-AZ-0053-0002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Escobar, Manuel G Jr. (Texas)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Gaber, Mark P. (District of Columbia)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Gordon, Arusha (District of Columbia)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Greenbaum, Jon M. (District of Columbia)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Hebert, J. Gerald (District of Columbia)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Lang, Danielle (District of Columbia)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Noti, Adav (District of Columbia)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Rosenberg, Ezra David (New Jersey)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Safdi, Stephanie L (California)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Scharff, Spencer Garrett (Arizona)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Schwartz, Andrew William (California)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia)
VR-AZ-0053-0001 | VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Connor, M Colleen (Arizona)
VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Karlson, Kara (Arizona)
VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
LaRue, Joseph Eugene (Arizona)
VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Offord, Talia Janelle (Arizona)
VR-AZ-0053-0003 | VR-AZ-0053-9000
Timchak, David Andrew (Arizona)
VR-AZ-0053-9000
Wilenchik, Dennis Ira (Arizona)
VR-AZ-0053-9000
Wilenchik, John Douglas (Arizona)
VR-AZ-0053-9000

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