DOJ investigating voting issues in Arizona primary

DOJ investigating voting issues in Arizona primary

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] has notified [letter] Maricopa County [official website] officials that it will investigate the issues voters in Arizona’s most populous county faced during the March 22 primary election. After the county decided to cut 60 polling locations, lines at the remaining locations were extremely long, with some voters reporting standing in line more than five hours. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton [official website] requested the DOJ investigation and said the county “distributed fewer polling locations to parts of the county with higher minority populations.” Arizona Governor Doug Ducey [official website] also wanted an investigation into the long lines. Maricopa County officials stated that they plan to cooperate fully with the DOJ and provide them with all information they are seeking.

Voting issues remain a controversial topic, particularly with the presidential election approaching. On Monday the US Supreme Court [official website] ruled unanimously [opinion, PDF] in Evenwel v. Abott [SCOTUSblog materials] that states may use total population to appropriate state legislative districts, and there is no constitutional requirement that states use voter population in order to divide up legislative districts [JURIST report]. Last month the League of United Latin American Citizens and Congressman Marc Veasy [official websites], along with other plaintiffs, filed an application [text, PDF] with the Supreme Court, asking the court to vacate a stay [JURIST report] that allowed a Texas voter ID law, said to have racially discriminatory effects, to remain in place. Also in March Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy [official profile] ordered [text] Montana to respond to the Montana Republican Party’s [party website] application for injunctive relief [application, PDF] requesting the right to a closed primary in the state [JURIST report]. A judge for Ohio’s Franklin County Court of Common Pleas [official website] in March granted an emergency order [text, PDF] allowing 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the November election to vote in the Ohio primary [JURIST report].