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To arrange a media interview with Ellie Smeal or other spokespersons at Feminist Majority Foundation, contact the FMF media department at 703-522-2214.

 

Date: September-09-04
Contact: Ashley Glacel or Erin Carmany
Phone: (703) 522-2214
Email: ecarmany@feminist.org

Feminist Majority Foundation Joins University of Arizona Students in Demanding Election Officials Correct Misstatements

Erroneous and Misleading Information Suppressing Student Voting

Tucson, Arizona Leading a campus-wide coalition of student groups, the University of Arizona Network of Feminist Student Activists today demanded that the Pima County Registrars Office and the Secretary of State correct erroneous statements made by the County Registrars spokesperson on Fox News that out-of-state students who dont plan on staying in Arizona after graduation were not eligible to register and vote. The students also want a correction run by the Fox-11 News at Nine reporter, Natalie Tejeda, who suggested that students were committing an unintentional felony by registering out-of-state students during a Get Out HER Vote event on campus organized by the NFSA, an affiliate of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

The Pima County Recorder is simply wrong, and they must retract and correct their inaccurate and intimidating statements about out-of-state students rights to register in Arizona, said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. Voting is a federal right, and the rights of students to vote where they attend college are guaranteed by federal law.

According to Arizona and national voting rights attorneys engaged by the Feminist Majority Foundation, not only has the United States Supreme Court (US v. Symm) expressly ruled that college communities must allow students to register to vote there, but the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970 specifically prohibit states from establishing durational residency requirements.

We are outraged and dismayed over these apparent attempts to discourage students from voting, said Juliana Zuccaro, a leader of the Network of Feminist Student Activities. NFSA leader Kelly Kraus added, Were not going to be intimidated we are redoubling our Get Out HER Vote registration activities and we are determined that students voices are heard in this election.

The controversy arose August 31 when the Network of Feminist Student Activists organized Suffrage 2004: Get Out HER Vote, a massive student voter registration initiative aimed at registering and mobilizing young women on campus to vote. The Fox News reporter acting almost in a policing capacity repeatedly questioned NFSA student leaders Kraus and Zuccaro whether they knew they might be committing an unintentional felony by registering out-of-state students. Kraus and Zucarro protested and challenged the accuracy of the Fox News reporters statements and were surprised to see the story run both that evening and the following morning.

This is not the first time we have confronted misinformation that has suppressed student voter registration and voting, said Katherine Spillar, Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. In state referendum campaigns on womens rights since the mid-1980s, we have encountered state and local election officials who have discouraged student voter registration drives. When challenged in court, such election officials instructions that have reduced student voting have been struck down as unconstitutional.

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To arrange interviews with Eleanor Smeal (703-522-2214); Katherine Spillar (310-556-2500); Kelly Kraus (520-331-9835) and Juliana Zuccaro (520-390-1054) of the University of Arizona Network of Feminist Student Activists; Erwin Chemerinsky, Alston & Bird Professor of Law, Duke Law School, (919-613-7173).

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