Arizona will require voters to prove citizenship and residency, angering activists

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Arizona residents will now need to show proof of citizenship in order to vote in a presidential election, sparking anger from some activists. 

“Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote,” Gov. Dough Ducey said in a letter explaining his decision to sign the bill Wednesday. 

The bill requires voters in presidential elections to show proof of citizenship, including by providing a driver’s license or tribal ID number, or a copy of a birth certificate, passport or naturalization documents. The bill also requires newly registered voters to show proof of address that they are an Arizona resident. 

FILE – In this April 15, 2021, file photo, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks during a bill signing in Phoenix. The Arizona Supreme Court is set to release its decision, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in a constitutional challenge to a new tax on high earners that was designed to increase school funding and approved by the state’s voters in November. Ducey opposed the new tax and said he hopes the state’s high court finds it unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Republicans say roughly 31,500 voters have not shown proof of citizenship. 

Arizona State Capitol Building in Phoenix, Arizona.
(dszc via Getty Images)

Activists, however, fear it could affect hundreds of thousands of people who have not updated their driver’s license or voter registration recently. 

“Arizona’s way out on a limb here,” litigation director for the Fair Elections Center Jon Sherman told Fox 10. “The provisions in this bill are not really found anywhere in the country.”

Lawyers for the state’s legislature said parts of the measure are unconstitutional and are likely to be thrown out in court. 

Voting booths (iStock)

Arizona adopted a 2004 ballot measure that required voters to show proof of citizenship to vote in elections. The measure was challenged and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that Arizona could adopt its own rules on voter eligibility for state elections but had to adhere to federal voter registration forms for federal elections. The federal forms require voters to attest they are citizens but do not have to show proof. 

The ruling ultimately resulted in the 31,500 Arizonans, without proof of citizenship, who can only vote in federal elections, and not in state elections, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

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