CLC Lawsuit Challenges Arizona’s Discriminatory Anti-Voter Law
WASHINGTON - Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Barton Mendez Soto PLLC filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Arizona Students’ Association (ASA) and the Arizona Democracy Resource Center (ADRC) challenging H.B. 2492, an anti-voter law which imposes unnecessary and discriminatory burdens on Arizona voters in violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal law.
The lawsuit alleges that H.B. 2492 denies eligible Arizona voters the right to vote based solely on which type of voter registration form they submit and whether they can obtain, copy and submit paperwork that proves their current residence and U.S. citizenship status with their voter registration. Voters are already required to attest to these facts – under penalty of perjury – to register to vote, and federal law prohibits states from imposing additional requirements to register to vote in federal elections.
H.B. 2492 targets naturalized voters with additional burdens to vote, requiring them to disclose their place of their birth, which is irrelevant to any voter qualification. The law could also subject voters to investigation and prosecution if the information they provide contradicts the information in stale, faulty databases. These anti-voter provisions discriminate against entire sects of voters, including naturalized citizens, college and university students and married people who change their name, preventing them from freely exercising their freedom to vote.
“The anti-voter policies in H.B. 2492, signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey, create new barriers to Arizonans’ freedom to vote and violate longstanding federal law,” said Trevor Potter, founder and president of Campaign Legal Center and Republican former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. “Voters should be able to cast their ballots freely, safely and equally to make the promise of democracy real for all Arizonans. This law takes Arizona in the wrong direction.”
“LUCHA works tirelessly to engage millions of Arizona voters across the state and to encourage them to participate in our democracy. We are outraged to see this piece of anti-voter legislation be signed into law. But we aren’t giving up,” said Tomás Robles, Co-Executive Director of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA). “We are eager to join the effort to challenge it in the courts, and just as eager to continue our work marching with Arizonans to the polls.”
"For the past 93 years, LULAC has fought to ensure that Hispanics around the nation have the right to vote. Today, we reaffirm this commitment and stand up for the rights of Arizonans to this most sacred tenet of American Democracy and strenuously oppose HB2492," said Domingo Garcia, National President of League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
“HB 2492 is a barrier to students being able to vote. We have seen time and time again when registering students to vote that additional documentation requirements intimidate students, limit students, and stress students out on such an important matter in their adulthood,” said Cesar Aguilar, Executive Director of Arizona Students’ Association (ASA). “When ASA along with LULAC was able to change how students registered to vote in LULAC V. Reagan, it made a huge difference. Students felt confident in the easy process, and it helped ASA register thousands more students. Putting more barriers up for students only makes it harder to vote, period.”
"We believe that everyone should have a voice in decisions that impact our communities, including the laws that govern our lives. This bill is a direct attack on our people's voices," said M. Teresa Mabry, Co-Executive Director of Programs and Strategy for Arizona Democracy Resource Center (ADRC) Action.
In 2018, CLC filed a lawsuit against Arizona over its “dual registration system,” alleging that election officials in Arizona were determining whether to register voters for federal elections based solely on whether the voter submitted a state-issued registration form or a federal registration form. As a result of the lawsuit, election officials are required to register voters for federal elections regardless of which form they used and must compare registration applications against the state driver’s license database to determine whether the state already had proof of a voter’s U.S. citizenship before blocking a voter from registering for state elections.
H.B. 2492 returns Arizona to its arbitrary dual-registration system, where a voter’s right to vote in federal elections is contingent on which form the voter uses to register. The new law also prohibits voters who do not produce specific documents from using vote-by-mail or early voting and prevents them from voting in presidential elections at all.
The lawsuit, filed in federal district court against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, alleges that H.B. 2492’s burdensome registration requirements violate the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the National Voter Registration Act. The lawsuit asks the court to block enforcement of the law’s challenged provisions.
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