State, national Democrats warn new Arizona election law is unconstitutional, Democrats warn

By Mary Jo Pitzl | Arizona Republic

State and national Democrats are threatening to sue if state officials don’t fix a pending election law that they say is unconstitutional.

In a demand letter, the Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic Party took aim at provisions of Senate Bill 1819 that could purge from the rolls voters who are registered to vote for federal offices only.

By targeting this subgroup of voters, the state violates equal rights and free-speech protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the Democrats wrote in a demand letter to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Mark Brnovich. The bill also violates the National Voting Rights Act, the complaint stated.

They ask the state officials to resolve the issue before it takes effect Sept. 29, or face a lawsuit.

SB 1819 is a wide-ranging collection of unrelated policies, including a review of how the Secretary of State maintains the voter-registration list in regard to voters who are registered to vote for federal races only. Typically, these are voters who did not provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Arizona law, but not federal law, requires verification of U.S. citizenship.

The review would be done by someone appointed by the Legislature and would focus on whether the list is maintained in compliance with federal requirements. If the review finds people who are not eligible to be registered voters, county elections officials would be directed to remove them from the voter rolls.

This process violates numerous laws and constitutional guarantees, the Democrats state.

Hobbs’ office declined to comment on the demand letter. 

In a statement, Brnovich’s office pointed to his duty to defend laws passed by the Legislature. 


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August 2021