VICTORY: Court Denies Arizona’s Move to Toss Lawsuit Challenging Anti-Voter Law
Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona denied the State of Arizona’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging two recently enacted anti-voter laws, H.B. 2492 and H.B. 2243, for imposing severe, arbitrary and discriminatory burdens on Arizona voters that undermine their freedom to vote and violate federal law.
“We have a choice between a democracy that is inclusive of all voters or one that excludes voters based on where they live or where they are from. This is a victory for every Arizonan, but especially for Latino and Native voters who have faced significant and pervasive barriers to accessing the ballot box,” said Danielle Lang, Senior Director of Voting Rights at Campaign Legal Center. “We are thankful Arizona’s motion to dismiss our lawsuit was denied and look forward to defending Arizonans’ freedom to vote in court.”
Campaign Legal Center (CLC), the Department of Justice of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, Barton Mendez Soto PLLC, Free Speech for People and Mayer Brown, LLP filed the lawsuit on behalf of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Arizona Students’ Association (ASA), Arizona Democracy Resource Center (ADRC), Arizona Coalition for Change (ACC), the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) and the San Carlos Apache Tribe.
Under the challenged law, many Arizonans are denied the freedom to vote based on the type of voter registration form they submit and whether they can obtain, copy and submit additional 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.
This policy discriminates against entire sectors of voters, including Native voters who face unique barriers to voting. Due to continued disinvestment in Native communities, voters living on tribal lands do not always have street addresses assigned to their homes and often cannot provide proof of a residential address. Arizona’s law asks voters to go far beyond what is already required under federal law, posing a potentially insurmountable barrier to voting for many Native voters.
The law even goes so far as to prohibit voters who do not submit burdensome, unnecessary paperwork from voting early or by mail and prevents them from voting in presidential elections at all.
H.B. 2492 further discriminates against naturalized citizens by 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.
The lawsuit, filed in federal district court against Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, alleges that H.B. 2492 and H.B. 2243 violate the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit asks the court to block enforcement of the law’s challenged provisions.