By Corinne Murdock |
A new bill proposes that Arizonans registering to vote must provide proof of citizenship in order to vote in presidential elections and receive early ballots by mail. Federal-only voters aren’t required to provide proof of their citizenship to vote for the president, though they must for state, county, and local elections.
The bill makes an exception for military and overseas voters within the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
In the 2020 election, Arizona had over 11,600 federal-only ballots cast: nearly 1,150 more votes than President Joe Biden’s margin that won the state.
The bill also laid out a method for verifying citizenship with the submission of a federal form. Within ten days after receiving the form, election officials must utilize their available resources to verify citizenship as well as search the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) databases, Social Security Administration (SSA) databases, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program, National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) Electronic Verification of Vital Events (EVVE) system, and any other state, city, town, county, or federal databases relating to voter registration. Throughout the entire process, elections officials must record their efforts to verify citizenship.
If election officials discover definitive proof that the applicant isn’t a citizen, then they must reject the application and notify the county attorney and attorney general for further investigation. The bill would also require election officials to notify applicants if they are unable to locate confirmation of citizenship, providing applicants 30 days to respond with proof of citizenship. Election officials may not reject an application if the applicant doesn’t provide proof of citizenship within that time frame — at that point, the applicant would only be eligible to vote in federal elections.
Election officials that don’t attempt to verify citizenship when no proof of citizenship is provided would be guilty of a class six felony.
Those who introduced the bill were State Representatives Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake), Neal Carter (R-San Tan Valley), Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale), John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix), Teresa Martinez (R-Oro Valley), Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott), Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa), Ben Toma (R-Peoria), Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix).
The bill also proposes other requirements to strengthen voter registration, such as providing proof of residential address and a checkmark specifically next to a detailed question regarding citizenship.