DOJ sues Arizona over regulation requiring proof of citizenship to vote by mail

The Division of Justice on Tuesday sued Arizona over a brand new regulation requiring individuals who use a federal kind to register to vote to offer extra proof of citizenship in the event that they wish to vote for president or utilizing the state’s fashionable vote-by-mail system.

The regulation signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey on March 30 is in direct battle with a 1993 federal voter registration regulation and in addition violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Justice Division says. The regulation provides necessities for the federal kind instantly rejected by the U.S. Supreme Courtroom in a 2013 Arizona case.

The Republican-controlled Legislature was properly conscious of the federal regulation and the Supreme Courtroom choice written by the late conservative icon, Justice Antonin Scalia. However they went forward anyway, arguing the brand new regulation would enhance election safety.

Assistant Lawyer Common Kristen Clarke of the division’s civil rights division known as the brand new regulation that goes into impact in January “a textbook violation of the Nationwide Voter Registration Act.”

She stated the Nationwide Voter Registration Act has helped remove necessities that make it laborious to register to vote.

“Arizona has handed a regulation that turns the clock again on progress by imposing illegal and pointless necessities that might block eligible voters from the registration rolls for sure federal elections,” Clarke stated in a press release.

The regulation violates the Civil Proper Act by requiring election officers to reject registration types in the event that they include a mistake or miss data that isn’t wanted to find out somebody’s proper to vote, she stated.

Ducey stated in a March 30 signing letter that the regulation is designed to deal with a rising variety of voters who registered utilizing the federal kind who didn’t have to offer proof that they’re residents. The state’s voters added the citizenship proof requirement in 2004 after they enacted Proposition 200, but it surely doesn’t apply to the federal kind.

The federal kind requires an individual to swear they’re a citizen, however there is no such thing as a proof requirement. Those that register utilizing the shape and don’t reply to election officers’ request for citizenship proof are solely allowed to vote in federal elections. In 2020, simply over 11,600 folks had been federal-only voters, however the quantity has since risen. For the reason that Supreme Courtroom choice, Arizona has allowed these utilizing the shape who haven’t offered citizenship proof to vote solely in federal elections.

Ducey spokesman C.J. Karamargin declined to remark, saying the administration does not touch upon litigation. The state’s Republican Lawyer Common Mark Brnovich, who’s operating for U.S. Senate, informed the Justice Division in a July 1 letter that he would defend the regulation to the fullest.

The Legislature’s personal attorneys informed lawmakers that a lot of the measure was unconstitutional, instantly contradicts the 2013 Supreme Courtroom choice and is prone to be thrown out in courtroom. It handed with help from solely majority Republicans.

The Justice Division lawsuit is the third to be filed difficult the regulation because it was handed. Voting rights teams filed the primary two challenges, which have been merged into one case.

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