DOJ v. Arizona
Arizona recently changed its voter ID laws to be more restrictive, and the US Department of Justice argues that these changes are not legal. Let’s take a look at the lawsuit and what it means for Arizona voters.
The Republican Voter ID Law
Governor Doug Ducey signed the law in question last March, with it taking effect early next year. The law requires people to prove they are citizens before voting in certain elections. It applies to presidential elections, as well as any federal elections, when the voter opts to vote by mail.
The DOJ’s Argument
According to the DOJ, this new law is not legal. They argue that it ignores a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that preempted a very similar attempt. That 2013 ruling pertained to a 2005 attempt in Arizona to require similar proof of citizenship before voting in federal elections.
Additionally, the DOJ says that the Arizona law violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is because it requires election officials to reject any voter registration forms with even minor errors.
In fact, Kristen Clarke, the Assistant Attorney General within the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, calls this a “textbook violation” of the country’s National Registration Act. That act has overwhelmingly eliminated barriers to voting. Clarke says that this law would turn back the clock, undoing that progress.
What Others Say
Interestingly, even lawyers for the Arizona Legislature agree with the DOJ. They say a large portion of the measure is unconstitutional and agree that it contradicts that 2013 Supreme Court ruling. They go on to say that the law will likely be thrown out.
Those advocating for voters’ rights worry this is an attempt to get a new Supreme Court decision. Such a decision would take advantage of the current court’s conservative leaning.
Arizona introduced a law that would severely restrict who can vote in presidential elections or by mail-in ballots during any federal elections. The DOJ is suing to block the law and some worry the debate will make it to the conservative Supreme Court. Only time will tell what happens next.