All eligible Medicaid and KidsCare applicants have begun receiving mailing voter registration forms and explanation letters in English and Spanish
PHOENIX — In an effort to provide all eligible Arizonans the opportunity to register to vote, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) has begun mailing voter registration forms and explanation letters in English and Spanish to all Medicaid and KidsCare applicants. All participants who apply for new benefits or have their existing benefits renewed will receive this voter registration mailing. These mailings will reach at least 100,000 individuals a month in Arizona for the foreseeable future, if not more.
Based on reporting before the impact of COVID-19 in Arizona, approximately 106,000 individuals applied for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) per month. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact many Arizona families, unemployment continues to rise, and the number of individuals who will receive these mailings will likely increase as the economic impact of the pandemic permits many more individuals to become eligible for Medicaid and CHIP.
In November 2017, the ACLU, the ACLU of Arizona, Demos, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a letter on behalf of Mi Familia Vota, Promise Arizona, and the League of Women Voters of Arizona to then-Secretary of State Michele Reagan notifying her of significant violations of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), and AHCCCS.
The public assistance agencies have since worked to comply with NVRA obligations. In August 2018, ADOT, DES, and AHCCCS agreed to remedy federal voting rights violations. As part of the agreement, DES and AHCCCS sent voter registration forms to 275,000 voters who had contact with these agencies between August 1, 2017, and July 31, 2018.
"The fight for voting rights remains as critical as ever," said Eduardo Sainz of Mi Familia Vota. "COVID-19 has touched the lives of many Arizonans and many face incredible obstacles to recovering from its repercussions. These mailings provide eligible Arizonans the opportunity to register at a time when many are burdened with other priorities and be able to cast a ballot in the upcoming election."
The parties continue to work cooperatively on improving compliance with the NVRA in Arizona. We encourage all eligible Arizona citizens to register to vote. Individuals can request a ballot-by-mail through the Secretary of State's online portal. To join the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) and get a ballot-by-mail for all future elections, individuals can update their voter registration through the Service Arizona website and selecting the PEVL option at the end.
"This new mailing effort shows a strong commitment on behalf of AHCCCS to comply with federal voting rights law and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to keep Arizona’s voter rolls up to date," said Petra Falcon of Promise Arizona.
"We believe in allowing Arizonans the opportunity to make their voice heard. The right to vote is one of the most powerful tools citizens have – we're glad to see that these Arizona agencies are doing what they can to come into compliance with the NVRA," said Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer, former president of the League of Women Voters of Arizona.
Mi Familia Vota, Promise Arizona, and the League of Women Voters of Arizona are represented in the case by Demos, the ACLU, the ACLU of Arizona, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.