Arizona Lawsuits Challenging Strict Proof of Citizenship Requirements Will Continue
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Feb. 16, a federal court in Arizona ruled that litigation will continue in a consolidated lawsuit challenging Arizona’s House Bill 2492, which creates a new restrictive proof of citizenship requirements for voters, and House Bill 2243, which requires county recorders to cancel a voter’s registration if they receive information that a voter is not qualified to vote or if the county officials have a “reason to believe” that a voter is not a U.S. citizen. The lawsuit argues that the challenged statutes violate the First and 14th Amendments by severely burdening the right to vote and potentially disenfranchising Arizona voters as well as the National Voter Registration Act and the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act. On Sept. 8, 2022, a federal court temporarily blocked the implementation of Arizona H.B. 2243 by approving an agreement between the Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander for Equity Coalition (AZ AANHPI) and then-Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D).
A total of eight lawsuits challenging Arizona’s strict proof of citizenship requirements are ongoing, with Mi Familia Vota v. Hobbs being the lead case. The seven other lawsuits consolidated under Mi Familia Vota v. Hobbs include: Living United for Change in Arizona v. Hobbs, United States v. Arizona, Poder Latinx v. Hobbs, Democratic National Committee v. Hobbs, AZ AANHPI for Equity Coalition v. Hobbs, Promise Arizona v. Hobbs and Tohono O’odham Nation v. Brnovich.
Today, a federal court denied the defendants’ requests to dismiss the case with the exception of one claim pertaining to procedural due process. This means the plaintiffs’ myriad other claims against H.B. 2492 and H.B. 2243 will move forward. Notably, the court rejected one of the defendants’ more novel arguments that the plaintiffs do not have a private right of action — meaning the right to sue as private parties — under the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act. The court’s order stated that it “need not decide whether there is a private right of action under [the Materiality Provision] on a motion to dismiss. While the Ninth Circuit has not spoken to this issue, Plaintiffs have cited persuasive authority from within this Circuit indicating that there is such a private right of action, rendering their claims at least plausible.” With the court largely denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss today, the plaintiffs will continue to challenge H.B. 2492 and H.B. 2243 in the fight to ease recently enacted suppressive voting laws.