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ACLU Lawyers File Suit Over Arizona Voter Address Updates

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File

Voting rights organizations are suing Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan over concerns that her office isn't updating voters' addresses.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona on Monday announced the lawsuit from multiple voter rights organizations including the League of Women Voters of Arizona. They're concerned that Reagan's office doesn't update voter registration information when someone changes their address on their driver's license.

Reagan's office last week rejected a request from the ACLU to change more than 500,000 voter registration addresses to what is listed on driver's licenses. She cited concerns about a lack of voters' consent. Instead, she says her office has coordinated with the Arizona Department of Transportation to make those changes next year.

Reagan, a Republican, is running for re-election. She faces a primary challenge from businessman Steve Gaynor, a largely self-funded candidate.

The primary is on August 28.

The lawsuit claims a failure to update the addresses could lead to disenfranchisement. It asks the court to order Reagan to count the number of federal election votes cast by the affected voters regardless of where they cast their ballot. It also asks that all the voters are mailed a letter to notify them of the address situation and explain the options for updating their voter registration addresses.

"We are asking the court to step in immediately and correct Secretary Reagan's failures. Not doing so will impose unnecessary and legally prohibited burdens on voters," said Sarah Brannon, a senior attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project, in a statement.

Reagan's office has said it expected legal action from the ACLU. Spokesman Matt Roberts said they're disappointed the groups would rather go to court than accept that the changes are already scheduled for next year. He also said election officials consistently urge voters to check their registration, and pointed to websites where voters can check their addresses and polling place information.

"Combined with the changes ADOT plans to make, the number of provisional ballots will be greatly reduced," he said. "A goal we all share."

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