U.S. sues Arizona over proof of citizenship voting law

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By Kira Lerner | Arizona Mirror

 The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division announced Tuesday that it has sued Arizona over a law signed by the state’s Republican governor in March that requires people registering to vote prove their citizenship to participate in a presidential election or to vote by mail in any federal election.

Republican proponents of the law, House Bill 2492, claim that requiring voters to provide a documentary proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate or passport, helps prevent voter fraud. But voting rights advocates say that non-citizen voting is extremely rare, and the law will disenfranchise voters who will have to jump through additional hurdles to be eligible to vote.    

“HB 2492’s onerous documentary proof of citizenship requirement for certain federal elections constitutes a textbook violation of the National Voter Registration Act,” in addition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a press call Tuesday.

The law is set to take effect in January, despite a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Arizona couldn’t require voters using the federal voter registration form to provide proof of citizenship. The high court did allow Arizona to continue allowing proof of citizenship for state elections. 

Under the new law, the roughly 31,000 people in Arizona who are currently federal-only voters would have to show proof of citizenship to continue participating in elections. Arizonans who registered to vote before 1996 in the state, before proof of citizenship was required to get a driver’s license, and who have not updated their voter registration would also have to provide documentary evidence. According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, 7,628 of the state’s roughly 23,000 active federal-only voters cast ballots in the 2020 general election. 

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