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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

AZ Groups Support DOJ Lawsuit to Block Registration Barrier

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Wednesday, July 13, 2022   

The U.S. Department of Justice wants to block an Arizona law that requires what its lawsuit calls "onerous documentary proof of citizenship" in order to register to vote.

Assistant Attorney General Kristin Clarke claims in the lawsuit that Arizona's bill violates the National Voter Registration Act and would prevent some eligible voters from getting onto the voter rolls for certain federal elections.

Regardless of the court's decision, said Alex Gulotta, director of the Arizona chapter of All Voting is Local, it won't affect voters this year - and wouldn't go into effect until the 2023 and 2024 elections.

"That bill has a new, documented proof-of-residence requirement," he said. "That basically means that folks that don't have an Arizona state-issued ID - that's snowbirds, students, lots of low-income people - are going to have a more difficult time registering to vote in the future."

Proponents of the law have said it would make elections more secure, but the DOJ complaint suggested it would pose an undue barrier, and that the current laws already verify that only citizens residing in Arizona vote in Arizona.

Meanwhile, Gulotta said, the Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections campaign recently submitted signatures to put a petition on the November ballot. It would create same-day voter registration and automatic voter registration, expand early voting, and also would allow people to deliver absentee ballots by mail to a polling place or to a dropbox for another voter, among other measures.

He said he thinks it's also important for voters to select candidates who support policies that make it easier to vote - not harder.

"The practical advice is check your registration. Make sure your registration is up-to-date. If there have been any changes, make sure that your address is correct," he said. "Vote, make a plan to vote, make sure that you and five of your friends and family members also vote."

The ballot campaign submitted more than 475,000 signatures. The proposal also would require election outreach to Native American tribes, ensure assistance for voters with disabilities, and reduce campaign contribution limits.


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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

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