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Thousands of Arizona voters could be affected by new voting law

(Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey gives his state of the state address at the Arizona Capitol, Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Phoenix.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Wednesday signed into law a bill expanding proof of citizenship requirements for voters casting ballots in federal elections, a new measure that could affect thousands of voters.

House Bill 2492 adopts stricter voting requirements in Arizona, a state that already requires proof of citizenship for voters registering to cast ballots in state elections, but not federal, because of a law passed in 2004.

HB 2492 now requires election workers to verify the documentation of citizenship for voters in federal elections.

In a letter to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), Ducey said the bill bolsters election integrity and security in his state.

“Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote,” he wrote.

Critics of the new law fear thousands of eligible voters could be purged from voter rolls because it applies the proof of citizenship requirement retroactively.

Passage of the law likely sets up a court challenge because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that Arizona cannot impose a proof of citizenship requirement on voters registering in the federal election via a federal form.

HB 2492 finds a new way around that court ruling by requiring election workers to research citizenship documentation.

In his letter, Ducey claimed more than 11,000 federal-only voters registered in the 2020 election by filling out the federal form, up from just 21 voters in 2014. He claims the law addresses that “growing number” of voters.

He also said there would be no great purge of voter rolls, arguing the law “does not disturb the safe harbor granted to Arizona voters” prior to the 2004 law.

Arizona’s House Democrats issued a statement on the new law, arguing it was a reaction to the “big lie” from former President Trump, who has claimed the 2020 election was stolen. His false claims have led to more restrictive voter laws across the country.

“Arizona’s protections to keep non-citizens from voting are robust, and they work,” Arizona Democrats said. “This unconstitutional bill violates the National Voter Registration Act and recent Supreme Court case law … and will surely end up in court at the taxpayer’s expense.”

Arizona is a swing state that President Biden won by nearly 11,000 votes. But Trump claimed rampant voter fraud in the election, which prompted lawmakers to hire a firm called Cyber Ninjas to audit the election in Arizona.

The firm later shut down after Maricopa County said their audit report was riddled with errors and a judge fined them $50,000 per day.

At least one organization announced they would challenge the new law.

Mi Familia Vota, a national organization promoting Latino and immigrant communities’ political power, criticized the law because it “purges hundreds of thousands of Arizona voters.”

“We will fight against this voter suppression fueled by racist xenophobia,” the organization tweeted.

Tags Arizona Doug Ducey voter requirements voting laws

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