Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), an activist organization that’s pushed for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, sued Arizona over the latest election integrity law passed, HB2492, which requires proof of citizenship in order to vote. LUCHA describes itself as a nonpartisan social justice nonprofit.
The nonprofit’s complaint alleged that applicants would have the county election officials using “outdated” citizenship data from “unreliable” sources. Therefore, LUCHA claimed, the government would only succeed in intimidating individuals born outside of the country that are citizens, not preventing any non-citizens from voting.
LUCHA also claimed that millions of Americans lack ready access to documents that prove their citizenship status. They stretched their argument to frame the new law as having a greater burden and therefore discrimination on the elderly, the poor, and black Americans.
LUCHA made headlines last fall for its members following and filming Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) while in an Arizona State University (ASU) bathroom. The activists were upset with Sinema’s lack of support for President Joe Biden’s reconciliation bill.
As AZ Free Newsreported earlier this week, another social justice organization, Mi Familia Vota, also sued Arizona officials over the new law. The organization received help from the lawyer behind the Russiagate hoax, Marc Elias.
Attorney General candidate Andrew Gould opined that the lawsuits were unsubstantiated. Gould asserted that the bill was a “neutral, reasonable, non-discriminatory restriction” affecting non-citizens.
“The current lawsuits appear to assume that it is unconstitutional to disenfranchise non-citizens. Of course, non-citizens have never had a right to vote under the Constitution, and so it is absurd to argue that HB2492 takes away a legal, constitutional right to vote from anyone,” wrote Gould. “[I]n these lawsuits, the parties appear to argue that ANY restriction whatsoever on registering to vote is unconstitutional. They are wrong on the facts and the law.”
With the help of Hillary Clinton’s Russiagate hoax lawyer Marc Elias, the Phoenix-based Latino activist organization Mi Familia Vota filed a lawsuit Thursday to challenge Arizona’s newly-enacted law requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. Republican legislators and Governor Doug Ducey have reiterated that the legislation, HB2492, doesn’t apply retroactively to Arizonans who registered to vote without providing proof of citizenship before 2004, meaning those individuals won’t have to re-register to vote. There’s contention to that provision in question: opponents of the law argue that the new definition of a qualified voter requires all registered voters to have submitted proof of citizenship.
The complaint filed by Elias on behalf of Mi Familia Vota alleged that HB2492 was “confusing, discriminatory, and unconstitutional,” as well as “voter suppression,” claiming it would prevent those already registered without proof of citizenship from voting. The complaint also claimed that HB2492 shared the same faults as Proposition 200, a voter-approved initiative in 2004 that required county recorders to reject any application for registration that didn’t include satisfactory evidence of U.S. citizenship.
The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down Proposition 200, ruling that it was a violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which doesn’t require proof of citizenship when registering to vote. However, as Arizona Free Enterprise Deputy Director Greg Blackie explained during the State Senate hearing of the bill, this law was designed to fall within the bounds of SCOTUS precedent because the NVRA doesn’t prohibit states from denying registration if there’s proof that the applicant isn’t a citizen.
Mi Familia Vota’s complaint further insisted that the new law would undermine early mail-in voting, due to the fact that it would negate the ease of voting provided by that method. The complaint also claimed that around 200,000 registered voters would have to locate and present proof of citizenship in order to vote. For that claim, the complaint cited an opinion piece in the Arizona Republic, which didn’t make a definitive claim that those voters would be scrutinized.
“If you registered to vote in Arizona before 2004 and never provided proof that you’re a U.S. citizen — a number that includes close to 200,000 voters who got their driver’s licenses before October 1, 1996, in the days before proof of citizenship was required — you, too, could be suspect. In the eyes of the GOP-run Arizona legislature, that is,” stated the article. [emphasis added]
Setting aside the potential difficulties presented to voters, the complaint argued that Arizona had no compelling interest to justify requiring proof of citizenship of its voters. It claimed that the lack of proof of non-citizens who’d voted proved that point.
In terms of requested relief, the complaint asked the court to find the new law to be in violation of the rights to vote and due process as outlined in the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
On Wednesday, Governor Doug Ducey signed HB2492, which requires individuals to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. The law most heavily impacts federal-only voters: federal law doesn’t require proof of citizenship when voting in federal elections. In the 2020 election, there were over 11,600 Arizonans who didn’t provide proof of citizenship, and state legislators reported that the current numbers were even higher: around 36,000, according to State Senator Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert). In 2018, there were 1,700 registered voters without proof of citizenship.
In a statement to AZ Free News, former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould commended Ducey for signing the legislation. He predicted that the law would improve voter turnout: the opposite of what the bill’s opponents claimed it would do.
“I want to thank Governor Ducey for signing HB2492. This new law, which requires proof of citizenship for state and federal elections, provides a critical protection for election integrity in Arizona,” said Gould. “This important piece of legislation, like all common-sense elections laws, will boost voter confidence and increase voter participation in Arizona.”
The Democratic Party’s Russiagate hoax lawyer, Marc Elias, pledged to sue Arizona over the law. Elias specializes in election litigation; he’s intervened in nearly 330 elections-related cases following the 2020 election, 150 of which he’s won. This week, the Washington Examiner reported that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) fined the DNC $105,000 and Hillary Clinton $8,000 for failing to accurately report how they funded the sole instigator of the Russiagate hoax, the Steele dossier. Clinton and the DNC together paid over $1 million to Elias’ law firm, Perkins Coie, for the opposition research firm that compiled the dossier, Fusion GPS. The DNC and Clinton claimed their combined funds were for legal services, not opposition research.
Based on Elias’ latest remarks, it looks like he will make good on the promise to sue.
In a letter to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Wednesday, Ducey offered a history of Arizonans’ support for proof of citizenship in order to vote. He recounted Proposition 200, a proof of citizenship requirement passed by voters in 2004 but later struck down by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Ducey also dispelled rumors that those who registered to vote without proof of citizenship prior to this bill’s enactment would have to re-register to vote.
“Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote,” wrote Ducey. “[This bill] is a balanced approach that honors Arizona’s history of making voting accessible without sacrificing security in our elections.”
In response, Hobbs claimed the legislation was “illegal.” She noted that the law would cause “costly litigation,” potentially alluding to Elias’ threats. Hobbs criticized Ducey’s latest efforts as a failure, a day after her signature-gathering system crashed while Maricopa County Attorney candidates attempted to submit signatures before their deadline in just a few days’ time. Those candidates need over 4,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Arizona voters received a big win yesterday. The State Senate passed HB2492 less than a month after the House did the same. And now this critical bill heads to Governor Ducey’s desk to be signed into state law.
This is a big win toward restoring the integrity of Arizona’s elections. HB2492 will safeguard our state’s voter rolls and ensure only U.S. citizens are voting in our elections. You would think this sort of legislation is something everyone could get behind. But apparently, the Democrats have a vested interest in allowing non-citizens to vote in our elections.
That’s why they’ve been spreading lies about HB2492 for months.
State Representative Jake Hoffman’s (R-Queen Creek) controversial proof of citizenship for voting bill passed the Senate on Wednesday along party lines. HB2492 now heads to the governor for final approval. The legislation requires that individuals provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote in the state, and further requires election officials to confirm with all available government databases that the applicant is an American citizen.
The bill advanced steadily through both the House and the Senate, moving out of Senate committee less than two weeks ago, shortly after it was passed by the entire House a few weeks before that. The legislation didn’t advance without pushback, however. Community activists attempted to stall the bill during its consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee, forcing a recess with their antics such as shouting down the legislators and shouting, “Shame!” repeatedly after the bill passed.
In a statement to AZ Free News, Arizona Free Enterprise Club President Scot Mussi was hopeful that Governor Doug Ducey would sign the bill. Mussi applauded the legislature for passing a bill that aligned with the state and federal constitution, forecasting that the bill would prevent bad actors from interfering with elections.
Senate Democrats had a different perspective of the bill: they claimed that the legislation would force numerous Arizonans to register to vote again. They also claimed that the bill violated federal election law.
In regard to the constitutionality claim, Arizona Free Enterprise Club Deputy Director Greg Blackie explained during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the 2013 Supreme Court ruling determined that the National Voter Registration Act didn’t stop states from denying an applicant’s registration based on information that proved the applicant’s ineligibility. Under this bill, that would mean proof that an applicant isn’t a citizen.