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Judge Rules on New Arizona Voting Laws That Require Proof of Citizenship to Vote

A federal judge is upholding new Arizona laws that would require registered voters to provide proof of U.S. citizenship in order for their votes to be counted.

Arizona legislators faced accusations of discrimination when they adopted the laws requiring counties to verify the status of registered voters but, in a ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that such requirements were not discriminatory.

Bolton said the state has an interest in preventing voter fraud and limiting voting to those individuals eligible to vote.

“Considering the evidence as a whole, the court concludes that Arizona’s interests in preventing non-citizens from voting and promoting public confidence in Arizona’s elections outweighs the limited burden voters might encounter when required to provide (documentary proof of citizenship),” the judge wrote.

In the ruling, Bolton clarified one requirement within the laws — asking individuals to include their state or country of birth on a state registration form — would violate the Civil Rights Act and a section of the National Voter Registration Act.

The judge said county officials requesting the state or country of birth would likely result in county recorders’ falsely believing that a naturalized individual is a non-citizen.

One of the measures examined by Bolton included a requirement of state election officials to cross-check registration information with various government databases to prove their citizenship and report anyone they can’t find to prosecutors.

“The court finds that though it may occur, non-citizens voting in Arizona is quite rare, and non-citizen voter fraud in Arizona is rarer still,” the ruling states. “But while the voting laws are not likely to meaningfully reduce possible non-citizen voting in Arizona, they could help to prevent non-citizens from registering or voting.”

The ruling comes after testimony from a bench trial in late 2023, when experts testified about Arizona’s history of voting discrimination.

These previous voter requirements included literacy tests that effectively precluded Native American and Latino voters from participating and voter roll purges.

Bolton said past attempts to exclude voters were irrelevant to the current attempts to prevent voter fraud. The judge noted there was no evidence presented by the plaintiffs to reflect an intent by lawmakers to suppress voter registrations.

The laws were passed in the wake of the 2020 presidential election that was marred by claims of voter fraud in Arizona.

In 2022, then-Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed the measures into law, which were passed on party-line votes.

“Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote,” Ducey wrote in March 2022.

READ 25 COMMENTS
  • John sweet says:

    As long as they can control the count is all they care about the actual vote numbers do not matter as seen by the vote harvesting results an identification requirement is counter to their agenda!

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