Joe Biden’s Department of Justice announced a lawsuit this week against the state of Arizona, citing a law passed back in March, which would require voters to show proof of citizenship before they cast their ballots in upcoming federal elections.
The law, known as House Bill 2492, would not take effect until January 1, 2023 — but that hasn’t stopped the Justice Department from alleging the legislation would violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
“Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote,” Ducey wrote. This bill “is a balanced approach that honors Arizona’s history of making voting accessible without sacrificing security in our elections.”
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, disagreed and claimed “House Bill 2492’s onerous documentary proof of citizenship requirement for certain federal elections constitutes a textbook violation of the National Voter Registration Act.”
Clarke added, “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.”
This is not the first time Arizona has been thrust into the media spotlight over state-level laws regarding national elections, or immigration-related decisions.
Ducey’s letter explaining his reason for signing the legislation cites a 2004 measure known as Proposition 200 which required voters to show proof of citizenship in order to vote in federal elections.
Arizona was also taken all the way to the Supreme Court by the Obama Administration back in 2012 when then-Gov. Jan Brewer, also a Republican, signed into law some of the strictest immigration reforms nationwide, in the form of S.B. 1070.
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The High Court ultimately ruled in favor of Obama and struck down key elements of the legislation. The Justices, did, however, leave in place partial aspects of the law.
Back in 2020, Biden defeated Donald Trump to win Arizona by a slim margin of around 10,000 votes. Ducey’s letter claims there were 11,600 new registrants who voted in the 2020 general election who did not supply the proper proof of citizenship to cast their ballots, as required by federal law.