Voting advocates fear new law could disenfranchise some naturalized citizens

By Rachel Leingang | Votebeat

One of the most significant election bills this legislative session is provoking an outcry from voting advocates who say it could disenfranchise naturalized citizens and other voters by canceling their registrations. It was quietly signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this month, even though the governor had previously vetoed a similar bill.

At least one group told Votebeat they intend to challenge the new law in court.

Ducey signed House Bill 2243 last week after previously vetoing a substantially similar bill in late May, House Bill 2617. Both bills call on county recorders to compare voter rolls to other databases and sources, like driver’s licenses in other states, death records, and jury questionnaires.

In a letter explaining his veto of the original legislation, Ducey pointed to a provision of the bill that required recorders to cancel voter registrations if they received information that the voter wasn’t a qualified elector. He said that provision was vague and could result in “bad actors” falsely asserting someone wasn’t qualified to vote in Arizona.

Voting rights groups, too, said HB 2617 could lead to people submitting lists of voters they contended weren’t qualified based on any number of likely discriminatory factors, requiring a recorder to investigate and potentially remove voters.

But Ducey said he largely agreed with the bill’s other provisions, setting the stage for lawmakers to tweak the bill to try to get Ducey’s approval.

That’s exactly what happened.

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