There are several propositions that will appear on Tuesday’s ballot. The language of propositions can be intimidating. If you are unsure how to vote or are unfamiliar with the propositions, a publicity pamphlet prepared by the office of the Arizona Secretary of State is an excellent resource for researching the propositions. Each proposition is described in detail and is accompanied by arguments “for” and “against” each issue. The pamphlet can be obtained by logging onto a Web site at www.azsos.gov. Printed copies are available at the Williams Public Library for those who do not have access to a computer. The publicity pamphlet is also available in a Spanish version.
Proposition 200 will appear on Tuesday’s ballot. If it is passed, Proposition 200 would require people to provide citizenship documentation when registering to vote or to receive public benefits. Opponents of Proposition 200 include Gov. Janet Napolitano, U.S. Sen. John McCain and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. They argue that the passage of Proposition 200 could cost the state $27 million in federal funding and would not slow the flow of illegal aliens coming into the country. The proposition could also lead to discrimination based on appearance and ethnicity.
Supporters of Proposition 200 maintain that illegal immigration costs Arizona approximately $1 billion a year in public benefits, which is far more than implementing the cost of the proposition. Supporters add that the proposition would not change the benefits available to illegal immigrants. For example, under federal law hospitals must provide care to anyone needing emergency treatment regardless of legal status or the ability to pay.
Proposition 200 mirrors California’s Proposition 187, which was struck down by a federal judge after being passed by voters in 1994. Proposition 187 was attacked as unconstitutional in several lawsuits after it was deemed as a dramatic effort to drive out undocumented aliens and to deter their entry by cutting them off from medical and other public services in addition to depriving their children of an education.
Proposition 200 will have much of the same effect in Arizona. The proposition could prevent immigrants from coming forward when they need police assistance or emergency medical care. Why? Because the proposition would require state and local government employees to notify federal immigration officials of suspected undocumented immigrants who seek public benefits.
Realistically, how many undocumented immigrants come here to register to vote? Most likely, not many. These are people that are trying to avoid the government. One of the last things they are going to do is register to vote. By registering, they would be providing the government with their information.
Examine Proposition 200 along with the other propositions carefully. Take a long, hard look at local, regional and national candidates. These candidates and propositions will have an impact on your life. Your vote does count. As you are doing your research and preparing to vote, don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. If you live on the south side of Williams, you can cast your vote at the Coconino Community College located at 636 S. Seventh St. If you live on the north side of town, or outside the city limits, your vote can be cast at the Holiday Inn, 950 N. Grand Canyon Blvd. Don’t remain silent. Exercise your right to vote. We’ll see you at the polls!