Recorder, O'odham leader fault ID to vote
Arizona Daily Star
Feb. 5, 2005

By Howard Fischer

PHOENIX - Pima County's recorder and the chairwoman of the Tohono O'odham Nation are objecting to the state's plans to require identification to vote at polling places under Proposition 200.
"The procedure as written will have a disproportionate impact on the Native American voters in Pima County, particularly those that are members of the Tohono O'odham Nation," Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez wrote Friday to Secretary of State Jan Brewer.
Proposition 200, approved in November by Arizona voters, requires proof of citizenship to register to vote and certain forms of identification to vote at polling places.
O'odham Chairwoman Vivian Juan-Sanders said the state's proposed procedures for enforcing Proposition 200 go even further than voters did - by requiring that all forms of ID used by voters at the polls must contain an address.
"For the members of Tohono O'odham Nation, other Indian communities and other Arizonans residing in rural areas, the new address requirement has stripped away the right to vote," Juan-Sanders wrote Brewer. "The Tohono O'odham Nation is very rural and our streets lack physical addresses."
The alternative - voting early by mail to avoid showing ID - isn't practical because the reservation has just three post offices, separated by more than 60 miles, Rodriguez wrote.
Brewer could not be reached for comment late Friday.
In other Proposition 200 developments Friday, Attorney General Terry Goddard said most Arizonans will be able to use a driver's license to register to vote even though it really isn't proof that someone is a citizen.
In a formal legal opinion, Goddard pointed out that Proposition 200 says a valid Arizona driver's license issued after Oct. 1, 1996, "shall be" acceptable evidence of citizenship.
He acknowledged that this license actually can be issued to anyone who is here legally, regardless of citizenship. Goddard said, though, that he cannot ignore the plain language of the initiative.
The attorney general said he's not concerned that large numbers of resident aliens are going to show up at the polls.
He said the law requires anyone registering to vote to attest that he or she is a citizen. "The associated criminal penalties for violating this requirement provide additional protections against non-citizens registering to vote in Arizona," Goddard said.
The Oct. 1, 1996, date was chosen by those who wrote Proposition 200 because that was the date the Motor Vehicle Division, responding to a new state law, began requiring people seeking a license to prove they were in this country legally. Prior to that, the only thing someone needed to show was proof that they lived in the state.
Those licenses, though, make no distinction on their face whether the holder is a citizen or simply a resident alien with a visa. Only the MVD keeps a record, separating the latter category as Type F.
Goddard's opinion solves the problem for most Arizonans - at least those with a license or other MVD-issued ID card. Cydney DeModica, spokeswoman for the Motor Vehicle Division, said 90 percent of licenses and identification cards were issued after Oct. 1, 1996.
As to the other 10 percent, Proposition 200 requires some other proof of citizenship. That could be a birth certificate, passport or tribal identification card.
Also acceptable is a naturalization document - or, at least the number of the naturalization certificate. In that latter case, though, the person cannot vote until that number is verified by federal immigration officials.