The Biden Administration Justice Department filed a complaint in federal court Tuesday alleging a new Arizona law that requires proof of citizenship to register to vote violates federal law.
HB 2492, signed by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey into law in March, states that the applicant must provide evidence of citizenship to vote. It also requires county election officials to research the status of those who do not provide proof of U.S. citizenship.
If officials are not able to verify citizenship, they are required to inform the applicant he or she is not qualified to vote in a presidential election or “by mail with an early ballot in any election until satisfactory evidence of citizenship is provided.”
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a Tuesday news release, “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,” Clarke added.
“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 National Voter Registration Act, passed in 1993, requires voter registration applicants on the federal form to attest they are citizens, but they do not have to provide proof of citizenship.
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law that required documentary proof of citizenship beyond the attestation on the federal form.
Former Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the 7-2 majority decision of the court writing the NVRA preempted state law when it comes to federal elections.
He wrote if Arizona wanted to add the proof of citizenship requirement it would have to clear it with the US Election Assistance Commission.
Arizona responded by setting up a bifurcated system where those who wish to vote for state offices must provide proof of citizenship. Otherwise, Arizona residents can register to be a federal elections-only voter.
The New York Times reported the number of federal-only voters has grown to roughly 31,500 since 2020.
Happy #NationalBarCodeDay! Did you know that every affidavit envelope has a barcode that is unique to each Maricopa County voter? This barcode can be used to track your ballot and ensures that only one ballot is counted. Track your ballot by texting “JOIN” to 628-683. pic.twitter.com/g8kmxaF6w8
— Maricopa County Elections Department (@MaricopaVote) June 26, 2022
After being informed on June 27 by Clarke of the DOJ’s plans to sue Arizona over HB 2492, state Attorney General Mark Brnovich responded in a July 1 letter in which he wrote, “It is curious…that the Department of Justice would use its resources to challenge a commonsense law in Arizona designed to guard against non-citizen voting, while the Biden administration is simultaneous opening our border to encourage a flood of illegal immigration.
“Is the federal government attempting to undermine our sovereignty and destabilize our election infrastructure? I hope this is not your intention,” the Republican added.
In an appearance Wednesday on Newsmax, Brnovich took Biden’s DOJ to task for suing to block HB 2492.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy and absurdity while Joe Biden is letting millions of people illegally into our country. He doesn’t want Arizona to be able to check for citizenship when you vote,” the Republican said.
“Now the Biden administration and the hard left that control the Department of Justice are coming after Arizona, and I’m saying, ‘Bring it on,’ because I’m going to stand up not only for Arizona, but the ability of all states to enact commonsense election integrity measures to protect the process and make sure only citizens vote in our elections,” Brnovich added.
Ducey also responded Wednesday to the DOJ suit saying on news radio KTAR’s “Mike Broomhead Show,” “We’ll see you in court, Mr. President.
“I mean you’ve got to be kidding me. Everybody knows that you have to present voter ID. You have to be a citizen. You have to be a resident. And you should be alive on the day that you vote.
Arizona Gov. @DougDucey responds to Biden’s lawsuit against the state’s election integrity laws: “You have to be a citizen…and you should be alive on the day that you vote.”
“If the Biden administration wants to challenge that, we’ll see them in court.” pic.twitter.com/UDLJ0Snn7a
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 7, 2022
“In Arizona we make it hard if not impossible to cheat, and very easy to vote if you are a citizen. If the Biden administration wants to challenge that, we’ll see them in court.”