State seeks to enact part of Prop. 200
December 7, 2004
 By Howard Fischer

PHOENIX - State lawyers want a federal judge to let the governor sign at least part of Proposition 200 to expedite the changes the initiative demands in voting laws and help defend the law in court.

Mary O'Grady, the state's solicitor general, said last week's restraining order by Judge David Bury only bars the state from implementing the section of the measure that requires people to show proof of legal residency to obtain "public benefits." Bury, who will hold a Dec. 22 hearing, has said he wants more time to study the issue.
But O'Grady said the challengers to Proposition 200 never sought - and Bury never granted - a halt to provisions that mandate identification to register and vote. She wants Bury to allow Gov. Janet Napolitano to sign the proclamation that the initiative was, in fact, approved by voters at the Nov. 2 election.
Judicial approval of her request would free the Attorney General's Office to ask the U.S. Department of Justice for its approval of the changes in voting laws. And that, in turn, could help undermine at least part of the legal challenge to Proposition 200 filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Danny Ortega, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said he would not comment on the state's action.
The Department of Justice has at least 60 days from a formal request for "preclearance" to decide if the law illegally dilutes the voting strength of minorities.
The state continues to allow people to register to vote without proof of citizenship, one requirement of Proposition 200, until the law gets Department of Justice approval.