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Fox News: We Report, So You’ll Decide to Vote Elsewhere

September 22, 2004

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Contact Information:
Katherine Spillar, Feminist Majority Foundation, 310 556–2500
Hans Riemer, Rock the Vote, 202 962–9710
Natalia Kennedy, 212 998–6736

FOX NEWS: We Report, So You’ll Decide to Vote Elsewhere
Fox News in Arizona Misleads Students about Voting Rights

New York, NY – In a bizarre twist on Foxs election-year slogan, “We report, you decide,” a local Fox affiliate, Fox 11 News in Tucson, is broadcasting reports aimed at scaring off University of Arizona students from voting on campus.

A coalition of advocates wrote today to the managing editor at Fox 11 News in Tucson calling upon the station “to issue an on-air clarification of the rights of out-of-state and in-state University of Arizona students to register and vote in Pima County.” The groups demanding that Fox stop its scare tactics include Rock the Vote, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

The controversy arose at an August 31 voter registration drive for college women organized by a University of Arizona affiliate of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

The broadcasts in question aired on August 31, September 1 and September 8. In the August 31 broadcast, Fox reporter Natalie Tejeda began her report with, “Several hundred students have registered to vote here over the past few days, but the Pima County registrar of voters believes many may have unintentionally committed a felony.”

A few seconds later, Ms. Tejeda reported, “What many [students] don’t realize is that legally, students from out of state aren’t eligible to vote in Arizona because they’re considered temporary residents.”

In fact, in 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a ruling that college students must be allowed to register in their college communities. (United States. v. Symm, 439 U.S. 1105 (1979).) Arizona law requires that students seeking to vote at college must be U.S. citizens, 18 or older on Election Day, who have lived in the college community for 30 days prior to the election.

Ms. Tejeda closed her August 31 report with this ominous warning and the clear recommendation that University of Arizona students not vote on campus: “So how easy is it to get caught? Well, starting this past January all voter applications are crosschecked with the Motor Vehicles Department and social security Administration. If they find that you are falsifying your residency you could be prosecuted. At this time we don’t know if anybody has yet been indicted, but Roads [the local election official] says one of the easiest things you can do to avoid all that is simply go on line or pick up the phone and call your home state’s elections office and ask for an absentee ballot.”

For additional information regarding this press release, please contact: Natalia Kennedy, (212) 998–6736.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, founded in 1995, unites thinkers and advocates in pursuit of a vision of inclusive and effective democracy. Its mission is to develop and implement an innovative, nonpartisan agenda of scholarship, public education, and legal action that promotes equality and human dignity, while safeguarding fundamental freedoms. Please visit