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Arizona sued by Justice Department for proof of citizenship voting requirement

The lawsuit asks a court to prohibit the state from enforcing the new law that requires Arizona voters to prove they're an American citizen.

PHOENIX — A new lawsuit from the federal government targets Arizona’s controversial proof of citizenship voting requirement that was mandated this year.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed the Republican-sponsored bill in March. It requires Arizona voters to prove their citizenship to vote in a presidential election.

As the law stands, voters can demonstrate citizenship by providing a driver’s license or tribal ID number, or they can attach a copy of a birth certificate, passport or naturalization documents. Voters already registered at the time were grandfathered in.

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The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the law on Tuesday and called the “onerous” mandate a “textbook violation of the National Voter Registration Act” and other laws.

The lawsuit asks the court to prohibit Arizona from enforcing the law. A decision hasn't been made yet.

Critics called the law a form of voter suppression that addressed a largely nonexistent problem, and the state legislature’s own lawyers said the bill was unconstitutional.

Arizona attempted a similar requirement in 2013 which was directly rejected by the US Supreme Court.  

No other state has enacted a similar proof of citizenship requirement to vote.

Even still, Ducey called it "a balanced approach that honors Arizona’s history of making voting accessible without sacrificing security in our elections.”

Another Republican-led effort sought to eliminate mail-in ballots as an option. That request was thrown out by a judge in June and preserves the most popular voting method in the state for now.

The flurry of bills to change Arizona’s voting laws comes after President Joe Biden became the first Democrat to win the state in a general election since 1996.

Former President Donald Trump and his allies in Arizona have maintained that Biden’s win was fraudulent despite producing no evidence to prove so.

The Republican National Committee released the following statement after the lawsuit was filed:

“The Biden administration and Democrats’ push to let non-citizens vote needs to stop. The RNC is on the leading edge of the fight against non-citizens voting across the country, including moving to intervene in Democrats’ lawsuits against this Arizona law. Our efforts to protect the vote and ensure only eligible citizens can vote will continue.” 

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: El estado de Arizona es demandado por el Departamento de Justicia por requisito de prueba de ciudadanía para votar

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