Justice Department files lawsuit against Arizona over legislation stiffening citizenship proof to vote
Jul 5, 2022, 3:42 PM | Updated: 5:01 pm
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
PHOENIX — The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona over legislation signed in March that requires voters to show proof of citizenship when casting a presidential ballot in person or by mail.
House Bill 2492, sponsored by Republican Rep. Jake Hoffman and signed March 30 by Gov. Doug Ducey, says that county recorders will be tasked with rejecting voting applications that don’t include citizenship documents.
The law is in direct conflict with a 1993 federal voter registration law and also violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the Justice Department. The law adds requirements for the federal form directly rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2013 Arizona case.
“Arizona has passed a law that turns the clock back on progress by imposing unlawful and unnecessary requirements that would block eligible voters from the registration rolls for certain federal elections,” Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for the department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a press release.
“The Justice Department will continue to use every available tool to protect all Americans’ right to vote and to ensure that their voices are heard.”
The bill also requires people to include proof of their address with new voter registrations. Election officials say that’s complicated and unnecessary because addresses are verified at the time of voting, and voting rights advocates say it will make registering voters more difficult.
The Legislature’s own lawyers told lawmakers that much of the measure was unconstitutional, directly contradicts the 2013 Supreme Court decision and is likely to be thrown out in court. It passed with support from only majority Republicans.
The Democratic National Committee in April sent a letter to top Arizona elections officials with concerns over the bill’s legality.
Ducey in March called the bill “a balanced approach that honors Arizona’s history of making voting accessible without sacrificing security in our elections.”
“H.B. 2492 provides clarity to Arizona law on how officials process federal form voter registration applications that lack evidence of citizenship,” Ducey said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.