DoJ Sues Arizona Over Election Law That Requires Proof of Citizenship | American News


The Justice Department is challenging a new Arizona law that requires voters to provide proof of citizenship for presidential elections, among other new restrictions, saying the measure was a “classic violation” of a federal law intended to protect voters.

Arizona’s disputed measure, HB 2492, signed into law by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in March, requires anyone wishing to vote in a presidential election, or vote by mail in any election, to provide proof of citizenship.

The law was among several pushed by the Arizona legislature after the 2020 election in a state where Donald Trump and his allies have spread baseless fraud allegations. Mail-in voting is widely used in Arizona, a key battleground state, and Republicans in the state have made numerous attempts to make it harder to vote this way.

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in a case called Arizona v Inter Tribal Council of Arizona that the state could not require anyone using the federal government’s voter registration application to provide proof of citizenship when of his registration.

As a result of the ruling, tens of thousands of voters in Arizona are only allowed to vote in federal elections, not state contests, because they did not provide proof of citizenship. In March, there were about 31,500 federal voters in the state alone.

Arizona lawmakers said the ruling applied only to congressional elections, not presidential elections, even though a lawyer for the legislature advised them the measure was likely illegal. A 1993 law, the National Voter Registration Act, requires all states to accept a federal voter registration form – the form does not require proof of citizenship, but does require voters to certify under penalty of perjury that they are citizens.

“House Bill 2492’s onerous documentary proof of citizenship requirement for certain federal elections is a classic violation of voter registration law,” Kristen Clarke, who heads the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, said Tuesday. Justice. “Arizona is a repeat offender when it comes to attempts to make it harder to register to vote. HB 2492 directly relates to the 2013 US Supreme Court decision.”

Some see the law as a blatant effort to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its 2013 decision. The court has become much more conservative since then; three of the justices who had a majority in this case – Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – were replaced by more conservative justices. Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented in 2013, saying they thought Arizona might require proof of citizenship for those using the federal form.

The court’s new conservative majority has shown outright hostility to voting access, siding with state lawmakers and upholding nearly every voting restriction it has been presented with in recent years.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich promised Friday that he would continue to defend the law. “Rest assured that I will defend this law in the Supreme Court of the United States if necessary and that I will destroy the efforts of the federal government to interfere with the electoral guarantees of our State,” wrote Brnovich, a Republican candidate for the United States Senate, in a letter to Clarke.

The Justice Department is also challenging other provisions of the Arizona law. The measure also required Arizona to add a section to its own state registration form asking voters to provide their place of birth. It also asks election officials not to accept a voter registration form if the voter forgets to check the box indicating they are a US citizen. These requirements violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits denying a person’s voter registration if they do not provide information irrelevant to their eligibility to vote, Clarke said.

“Checking this box is not important in establishing the electoral qualifications of candidates who have already proven that they are US citizens,” she said. “This information is not important in establishing whether a voter is a U.S. citizen due to naturalization and expatriation patterns, among other reasons.”

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