The Biden administration sued Arizona on Tuesday to block a new law requiring proof of citizenship in order to vote in federal elections.
Calling it a “textbook violation of the National Voter Registration Act,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said that the law’s requirement was “onerous” – and took particular issue with provisions such as “requiring election officials to reject voter registration forms based on errors or omissions that are not material to establishing a voter’s eligibility to cast a ballot.”
The new law would require voters to prove citizenship using documentation such as a driver’s license, passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers.
Clarke added that the new law, scheduled to take effect in January after it was signed into law by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, is similar to an Arizona law struck down by the US Supreme Court in 2013.
The suit describes how the attorney for Arizona legislators warned them that the bill would violate federal law and contradict the earlier Supreme Court ruling. House Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham said trying again “is a fight worth having,” according to the court filing.
State Attorney General Mark Brnovich suggested the Justice Department was encouraging undocumented immigrants to vote by filing the lawsuit. “I will once again be in court defending Arizona against the lawlessness of the Biden administration,” Brnovich said Tuesday. –NBC News
State AG Mark Brnovich said in response to the lawsuit: “Arizona has passed a law that turns the clock back on progress by imposing unlawful and unnecessary requirements that would block eligible voters from the registration rolls for certain federal elections,” tweeting later: “It’s another round of Brnovich v. Biden as his DOJ continues its attempts to undermine our election integrity laws.”
It’s another round of Brnovich v. Biden as his DOJ continues its attempts to undermine our election integrity laws.
I will see you in court. Again.
— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) July 5, 2022
As ABC13 notes:
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told Clarke in a letter that he intendeds to defend Arizona’s H.B. 2492 all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed. He pointed to his victory in a separate election integrity suit from last year, in which he argued successfully in front of the Supreme Court that Arizona election integrity laws and policies did not violate the nation’s Voting Rights Act or the Constitution.
In his letter, Brnovich chided Clarke and the DOJ for using its resources “to challenge a common sense law,” while at the same time the Biden administration is “opening our borders to encourage a flood of illegal immigration.”
Brnovich questioned whether the DOJ was attempting “to undermine [Arizona’s] sovereignty” and “destabilize” the state’s election infrastructure.
“I hope that is not your intention,” he noted. “I strongly urge you to reconsider your pursuit of this misguided suit and to instead recognize Arizona’s constitutional authority to conduct lawful and secure elections.”
One year ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court gave us a 6-3 victory in the landmark election integrity case, Brnovich v. DNC, that I personally argued.
It's been a honor to fight on behalf of Arizonans to uphold the rule of law for our state. pic.twitter.com/b1nD0oZBnK
— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) July 2, 2022
According to Gov. Ducey, the measure would address the more than 11,000 voters in 2020 that had not provided proof of citizenship, in a state where President Biden won by less than 11,000 votes.