Lawsuit Filed Against Arizona’s New Restrictive Proof of Citizenship Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a lawsuit was filed by Mi Familia Vota challenging Arizona’s newly-passed voter suppression law, House Bill 2492. The law, signed by Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Wednesday, creates new proof of citizenship requirements for voters. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona that Arizona must accept federal voter registration forms even if they are unaccompanied by proof of citizenship, striking down a law that was enacted in 2005. Since the ruling, voters in Arizona could register using the federal form and vote in federal elections without providing proof of citizenship. However, as outlined in the complaint, H.B. 2492 changes this so that new voters registering with federal forms must “provide additional documentation if they want to vote in presidential elections or vote early by mail for any office.” Additionally, voters who previously registered to vote before 2005 when there was not a proof of citizenship requirement or between 2005 and the present using a federal form are prohibited from voting in presidential elections or by mail until they present proof of citizenship.

Finally, under this law the Arizona attorney general’s office is tasked with investigating voters with missing citizenship statuses — putting hundreds of thousands of voters at risk for having their registration improperly canceled or losing the ability to vote by mail. The lawsuit argues that H.B. 2492 will severely burden Arizona voters who registered to vote when there was not a proof of citizenship requirement. The plaintiffs highlight that the law could potentially disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters who fall into these categories, especially since the law does not specify if or how voters will be notified that their registration has become invalid.

The lawsuit outlines the Republican-controlled Legislature’s push to limit access to voting, particularly vote by mail, which is an extremely popular method of voting in Arizona. Mi Familia Vota argues that this new law does not serve any justifiable state interest, pointing to the fact that, during “the Legislature’s consideration of the bill, no legislator identified a single instance of voter fraud or impropriety in Arizona related to mail-in early voting ballots that would precipitate the need for the changes at issue.” The lawsuit argues that H.B. 2492 violates the First and 14th Amendments by severely burdening the right to vote and potentially disenfranchising Arizona voters and asks the court to block the law.

Read the complaint here.