The Justice Department announced Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Arizona, claiming that a new state law that requires voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship in order to cast a ballot in presidential elections is unconstitutional.
Arizona’s House Bill 2492 which was signed into law in March by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and slated to take effect next year requires anyone voting for the president or voting by mail in any federal election to provide proof of citizenship and documentation of their birthplace before registering to vote.
Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s civil rights division, told reporters Tuesday that the law was “a textbook violation” of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which sets registration requirements for federal election.
Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona called the lawsuit “frivolous,” and argued that showing your ID to vote is easy, common, necessary and not discriminatory.
The lawsuit marks a major step by the Biden administration to combat a wave of voter restriction laws, passed largely in Republican-controlled states. President Donald Trump baselessly claimed he lost the 2020 presidential election because of widespread voter fraud, which has repeatedly been debunked.
Since then, more states have proposed laws proponents say protect election integrity. Last year, six states enacted new voter identification laws, though 160 were proposed in statehouses nationwide according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
While Ducey and other Arizona Republicans said the law would protect security of the elections, critics said the legislation creates an undue hurdle to take part in elections and it goes further than what federal courts have determined is permissible for voter registration requirements. HB 2492 could lead to thousands of Arizona voters being stripped from the state’s voter rolls and to re-register.