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Governor signs bill putting further restrictions on federal-only voters

Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 20:39:07-04

PHOENIX — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey put his signature on a bill that he said in a statement is a “balanced approach that honors Arizona’s history of making voting accessible without sacrificing security in our elections.”

House Bill 2492, sponsored by State Representative Jake Hoffman (Queen Creek – R) requires documented proof of citizenship for Arizona voters that wish to vote in presidential elections, as well as early or through the mail.

In 2012 Arizona passed Proposition 200 requiring documented proof of citizenship to vote. The state is already one of the few in the nation with the requirement. Most provide documented proof through a driver’s license or the last four digits of a social security number.

A 2013 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court said that Arizona must allow people to register to vote with a federal form, which only requires a voter to attest they are a citizen with their signature. The decision was accommodated by restricting those voters to casting a ballot only for president, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate candidates.

Federal-only voters are a small slice of the Arizona electorate. Updated figures from the secretary of state show that 10,510 people are actively registered to vote in Arizona without either a drivers license or social security number on file.

With Ducey’s signature now on HB2492, federal-only voters will now be restricted from voting for the state’s presidential electors, as well as from voting early or through the mail.

Alex Kolodin is an attorney and Republican candidate for state house supports the bill.

“You’re simply going to have an additional means for state officials to ensure that what’s both federal and state law is actually enforced, which is that you have to be a citizen to vote.” Kolodin said.

Kolodin called HB2492 a minimum viable product. He wants to see the governor’s signature on more of the election integrity bills being put forward by state republican legislators.

No definitive proof of election fraud has been found in Arizona despite a months long audit by the state senate.

The law has its detractors as well.

Gina Roberts is the voter education director for the Arizona’s Clean Elections Commission. They took the rare step of sending a letter to the governor opposing HB2492 prior to the governor signing it. She questioned another provision in the law that requires proof of residency since it will have an outsized impact on the state’s growing homeless population.

“Those voters who are homeless or who just don’t have a permanent address. They’re eligible to vote, but now they would have to provide proof of their location.” Roberts said.

The new law also makes it easier to prosecute potential non-citizens that attempt to register to vote. The Attorney General is required to investigate those that register to vote but fail the citizenship checks that are done by the Secretary of State and county recorders.

County officials are not off the hook either. If the Attorney General finds that an official knowingly allowed a non-verified registrant on the rolls, they would be guilty of a class 6 felony.

Experts from across the political spectrum say that a lawsuit against the law will be filed soon. Supporters of the new law believe a now more conservative Supreme Court will rule in favor of state’s requiring proof of citizenship to vote while opponents believe it is one more step in the march of voter suppression.