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Arizona Election Law: Justice Department Sues Over Law Requiring Proof of Citizenship

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The law, which Arizona Republican government Doug Ducey signed in March, will go into effect in January.

According to the lawsuit, the Supreme Court rejected Arizona’s previous attempt to demand proof of citizenship in 2013, and the Justice Department argues that this new law violates the National Voter Registration Act because it requires documented proof of citizenship. in federal elections.

“Arizona has passed a law that turns the clock back on progress by imposing illegal and unnecessary requirements that would block elective voters from registering for certain federal elections,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division of the United States. the Ministry of Justice. a statement.

“The Department of Justice will continue to use every tool available to protect the voting rights of all Americans and ensure their voices are heard,” she added.

Arizona is just one of the major battlefield states where Republican state legislators have pushed for changes to voting procedures, something that has alarmed voting proponents. Democrats have repeatedly warned that laws like the one in Arizona could raise unwarranted questions about the results of free and fair elections and erode voter confidence.

State law already requires Arizona residents to register to vote in state elections to provide proof of citizenship. But this legislation, passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature, extends those requirements to residents who vote only in federal elections.

Currently, individuals using a federal voter registration form must testify that they are a citizen under penalty of perjury, but proof is not required.

Under the new law, election officials would be required to verify the citizenship status of any voter who submits a federal voter registration form without proper proof. And any county recorder or election official who fails to verify citizenship status and knowingly registers a voter without proper documentation could be charged with a felony.

The state attorney general could also investigate any voter without proof of citizenship and prosecute non-citizens who register to vote.

While Ducey has said the law “provides clarity” on how officials process voter registration applications who “have no proof of citizenship,” critics say it could harm voters — such as students, the elderly and people in tribal communities — who may not have a valid state driver’s license. or identity card.

This story was updated Tuesday with additional information.

Kelly Mena contributed to this report.

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