Tuesday, September 12, 2006
PHOENIX, Sept. 11 -- A federal judge declined Monday to block a law that requires Arizona voters to present identification before casting a ballot.
U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver's order came a day before Tuesday's primary, the first statewide election for which voters will be required to show identification. The law has already been used in some municipal elections.
The 2004 law requires that voters at polling places produce government-issued picture ID or two pieces of other non-photo identification specified by the law. It also requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
Parts of the law were aimed chiefly at illegal immigrants.
A number of challengers had sued to prohibit election officials from enforcing the registration and polling-place identification requirements. Critics said that the law would disenfranchise voters, particularly minorities and the elderly, and that requiring voters to acquire and produce identification would be burdensome in time, money and effort.
They also claimed it hinders voter registration drives.
Secretary of State Janice K. Brewer said the law was a protection against voter fraud. "Today's court ruling assures the integrity of this process by retaining the requirements established by Proposition 200," she said in a statement.
Within hours, lawyers for some of the challengers filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.
Silver asked for additional briefs and scheduled an Oct. 19 hearing but did not explain her reasoning.
Silver's brief order said that she would issue a detailed explanation later but that the challengers "have not shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits, the balance of hardships favor the defendants and the public interest would not be advanced by granting the injunction."