Biden Admin Sues Arizona Over Requirement for Voters to Prove Citizenship
Do you support or oppose requiring voters to prove they’re U.S. citizens?
What’s the story?
- The Biden administration’s Dept. of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona challenging a requirement that voters provide proof of American citizenship before they can vote in presidential elections or vote by mail in any federal election.
- The law at the center of the challenge was enacted as part of a bill known as HB 2492 is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2023.
- Proponents say the provision in question clarifies how elections officials process voter registration forms that lack proof of citizenship under Arizona law by requiring proof of citizenship to vote in presidential elections or vote by mail in a federal election.
- The DOJ alleges that the proof of citizenship requirement is onerous and violates federal laws related to voter registration by making it harder for people to vote in federal elections. The lawsuit seeks to bar Arizona from enforcing the new law.
- Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal elections. Arizona law already prohibits non-citizens from voting in all state and local elections, in addition to requiring proof of citizenship.
- Voters can choose to register on a federal form from the Election Assistance Commission, which doesn’t require proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections, or they can register to vote using the state’s form which does.
- Voters in Arizona who fail to provide proof of citizenship are considered “federal only” voters and are thus barred from voting in state and local elections. (These “federal only” voters would be required to show proof of citizenship to vote in presidential elections or by mail in other federal elections if the law takes effect next year.)
- A voter may initially register as a “federal only” voter and become eligible to vote a full ballot in all federal, state, county, and local elections if he or she later provides valid proof of citizenship to their County Recorder’s office.
- The number of “federal only” voters in the state of Arizona has increased in recent years. It rose from 21 in 2014 when the federal forms were first used, to over 11,600 as of the 2020 general election, and it has reportedly continued to rise.
What they’re saying
- Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a press release announcing the lawsuit against Arizona that the state’s proof of citizenship requirement for the “federal only” voters is a violation of provisions of federal election laws ― namely the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ― because it makes it harder to register to vote:
“House Bill 2492’s onerous documentary proof of citizenship requirement for certain federal elections constitutes a textbook violation of the National Voter Registration Act. For nearly three decades, the National Voter Registration Act has helped to move states in the right direction by eliminating unnecessary requirements that have historically made it harder for eligible voters to access the registration rolls.
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. 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.”
- Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R), who is running in the Arizona GOP primary for the U.S. Senate and successfully defended a different set of Arizona election laws before the Supreme Court a year ago, said in a pair of tweets after the lawsuit was announced:
“It is curious that the DOJ would use its resources to challenge a common sense law in Arizona designed to guard against non-citizen voting, while the Biden Administration is simultaneously opening our borders to encourage a flood of illegal immigration.”
“In addition to free rooms and transportation for those illegally entering our country, the DOJ now wants to give them a chance to vote. I will once again be in court defending Arizona against the lawlessness of the Biden administration.”
How to Show U.S. Citizenship in Arizona
An Arizona driver’s license or non-operating identification card issued after October 1, 1996, qualifies as acceptable proof of citizenship. Additional items that can be used to verify one’s citizenship in the state of Arizona in the absence of a state-issued driver’s license or ID card include:
- Supporting legal documentation (i.e. marriage certificate) if the name on the birth certificate is not the same as your current legal name.
- A legible photocopy of the pertinent pages of your passport.
- U.S. naturalization documents or fill in your Alien Registration Number in box 11 on the voter registration form.
- Indian Census Number, Bureau of Indian Affairs Card Number, Tribal Treaty Card Number, or fill in your Tribal Enrollment in box 10 of the voter registration form.
- A legible copy of your Tribal Certificate of Indian Blood or Tribal or Bureau of Indian Affairs Affidavit of Birth.
- Supreme Court Upholds Arizona’s Ban on Ballot Harvesting & Out-of-Precinct Voting (7/1/21)
- AG Garland Announces DOJ Will Sue Georgia Over Election Law (6/25/21)
- What’s in the Georgia Election Law? Voter ID Changes & More (5/3/21)
- Gov. Abbott Signs Controversial Texas Election Reform Bill Into Law (9/7/21)
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / YinYang)