DOJ gives go-ahead to Arizona online voting

The Justice Department has approved Arizona's plan to use Internet-based

polling stations as part of its March 11 presidential primary election,

but not without reservations.

DOJ, in a Feb. 24 letter to the Arizona Democratic Party, acknowledged concerns

that Internet-based polling stations may not be as accessible to some minority

communities, which could lead to lawsuits.

Internet-based polling stations are expected to increase voter turnout because

they enable people to vote from any Internet-ready polling station in the

state, not just from their precinct.

But if nonminority voters have easier access to such sites, the Internet-based

polling stations could increase their impact on the vote, because they would

potentially be turning out in even greater numbers.

If that proves to be the case, Internet-based voting would violate the Voting

Rights Act of 1965, the department said. So although Attorney General Janet

Reno will not block the use of Internet-based polling stations, that decision

"does not bar subsequent litigation to enjoin the enforcement of the changes,"

DOJ wrote.

DOJ also said it was willing to work with the state on its outreach efforts

aimed at ensuring the full participation of Native American, Hispanic and

other minority voters.

Arizona is committed to making the election both accessible and inclusive,

state officials said in a statement.

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