Arizona AG Accuses DOJ Of Attempt to ‘Undermine Sovereignty’ By Suing Over State’s New Election Law
12:42 GMT 06.07.2022 (Updated: 05:35 GMT 30.04.2023)
The US Justice Department sued the state of Arizona on Tuesday to block a law that Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed in March. The legislation would require proof of citizenship to register to vote in the state.
A move by the Department of Justice to block Arizona’s election law HB 2492, seeking to stop non-citizens from voting, has triggered an angry reaction from Mark Brnovich, currently serving as the state’s 26th Attorney General.
"In addition to free rooms and transportation for those illegally entering our country, the DOJ now wants to give them a chance to vote," Brnovich was cited as fuming by Fox News Digita.
As the DOJ announced on Tuesday it had formally filed the lawsuit, calling the bill a "textbook violation of the National Voter Registration Act," Arizona’s AGquipped: "It's another round of Brnovich v. Biden. I will see you in court…again."
It’s another round of Brnovich v. Biden as his DOJ continues its attempts to undermine our election integrity laws.— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) July 5, 2022
I will see you in court. Again.
“Arizona has passed a law that turns the clock back on progress by imposing unlawful and unnecessary requirements that would block eligible voters from the registration rolls for certain federal elections," said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, in a statement.
She added that the DOJ would continue to “use every available tool to protect all Americans' right to vote and to ensure that their voices are heard."
The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division had already written to Brnovich in June to inform him the agency intended to file a lawsuit against the state over its recently enacted voting law.
The Justice Department argued this new legislation, signed in March by Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, violated the National Voter Registration Act, as it requires ‘documented proof’ of citizenship, such as a government-issued identification, like a driver's license, tribal ID or passport, to vote in federal elections.
The DOJ has pointed to the 1993 National Voter Registration Act to argue its case.
The Act “requires Arizona to ‘accept and use’ a completed and valid Federal Form to register qualified applicants to vote in all elections for federal office," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke stated in the letter.
"Such applicants need not provide additional documentation to prove their citizenship to be registered to vote in federal elections," she added.
Mark Brnovich, however, on July 1 vowed to "defend this law to the US Supreme Court if necessary and defeat the federal government’s efforts to interfere with our state’s election safeguards, as I did last year in Brnovich v DNC," according to Fox News Digital.
Brnovich, who is also running for the US Senate, added that it was "curious" that the DOJ "would use its resources to challenge a common sense law in Arizona designed to guard against non-citizen voting, while the Biden administration is simultaneously opening our borders to encourage a flood of illegal immigration."
He concluded by questioning whether the federal government was seeking to “undermine” the state’s sovereignty and “destabilize” the election infrastructure.
“I hope this is not your intention," Brnovich was cited as saying.
The legislation recently enacted by Arizona comes as part of a push to stop non-citizens from voting.
Back in 2013, the Supreme Court rejected a bid by Arizona to require its voters to provide proof of citizenship in order to participate in federal elections. The ruling did allow the requirement for state elections.
Arizona is one of a swathe of key battleground states where Republican state lawmakers have been arguing the need for changes to voting procedures. The drive came in the wake of the November 2020 elections, which ex-president Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed as marred by voting “irregularities” that were wielded to “rig” the vote in favour of his rival – Democrat Joe Biden. He blamed manipulations involving electronic Dominion voting machines, as well as mail-in ballots in key swing states. However, state courts threw out Trump’ss complaints, citing lack of evidence.
As Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law on March 30, he stated:
"Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote. H.B. 2492 is a balanced approach that honors Arizona's history of making voting accessible without sacrificing security in our elections."