Free Speech For People represents Mi Familia Vota, Arizona Coalition for Change, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), and Chispa Arizona in this challenge of two new voter suppression laws passed by the Arizona legislature, which will disproportionately disenfranchise Black, Native American, and Latino voters.

With our litigation, we will seek to overturn SB 1485, a law that will result in voters being removed from the Permanent Early Voting List by 2024 if they fail to vote in two consecutive election cycles, and SB 1003, a law that gives voters only until 7pm on election day to cure a mail-in ballot that is missing a signature, disenfranchising voters with a lack of access to transportation, child-care, leave from work, or other barriers.

Free Speech For People is pleased to partner with the law firms of Mayer Brown LLP and Quarles & Brady LLP in this litigation.

Key Facts

Caption Mi Familia Vota, Arizona Coalition for Change, Living United for Change in Arizona Living United for Change in Arizona, and Chispa Arizona v. Hobbs
Court Federal District Court of Arizona
Docket No.

 

Status Complaint filed
Plaintiffs Mi Familia Vota, Arizona Coalition for Change, Living United for Change in Arizona, and Chispa Arizona
Defendants  Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and the County Recorder Defendants

Background

This lawsuit challenges two recently enacted laws designed to suppress the votes of Arizonans of color and other marginalized Arizonans. Senate Bill 1485 (the “Voter Purge Law”) removes voters from the Permanent Early Voting List—the method by which people may elect to have mail-in ballots automatically delivered to them prior to each election—when they do not vote in two consecutive election cycles and fail to respond to a notice. This may result in the removal of an estimated 150,000 voters from the permanent early voting list. Senate Bill 1003 (the “Cure Period Law”) requires voters who submit a mail-in ballot missing a required signature to fix the issue by 7:00 PM on Election Day, despite allowing ballots with alleged “mismatched” signatures to be cured up to five days after Election Day.

The plaintiffs also allege, “The laws will have a severe and disproportionate impact on voters of color in Arizona, especially Native American, Latino, and Black voters…It is no coincidence that the Arizona legislature enacted these changes only after an election in which (1) for the first time in recent memory, the presidential candidate preferred by Arizona voters of color won; and (2) voters of color increasingly used early voting—the target of the new laws—to help elect their candidate of choice.”

The plaintiffs argue that these two laws violate the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. They are asking the Court to block the state’s election officials from enforcing the laws and ensure ongoing compliance.

“Arizona election officials have stated that there has been no incident of widespread voter fraud in connection with Arizona’s vote-by-mail system in its 30-year history, and that the 2020 elections were successful,” said Courtney Hostetler, Senior Counsel for Free Speech For People. “These laws will not prevent non-existent fraud; they will, however, make voting less accessible, particularly for voters of color in Arizona. This case will further our goal of securing free and fair elections for Arizona voters by ensuring that mail-in ballots, the preferred method of voting by the vast majority of Arizona voters, is freely and fairly accessible to all voters, regardless of race, ethnicity, or access to election offices.”

Members of the coalition are being represented by attorneys from Free Speech For People, Mayer Brown LLP, and Quarles & Brady, LLP.

In 2020, Free Speech For People previously filed a federal lawsuit against election officials in Arizona to extend the voter registration period in the state, citing restrictions on registration activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Victory in the case, brought on behalf of Mi Familia Vota and Arizona Coalition for Change, resulted in more than 35,000 new voters being able to register to vote in advance of the 2020 general election.

Major Case Developments and Documents

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