PHOENIX, AZ – On March 23rd, Arizona lawmakers approved a bill that will help ensure that only United States citizens will be able to vote within the state. The legislation has since been handed off to Governor Doug Ducey, where it awaits his signature. Democrats, of course, are not pleased.
The bill in question is HB 2492, and the takes on what it accomplishes are divided between Republicans and Democrats in Arizona. Republicans generally proclaim that HB 2492 helps keep elections secure by thoroughly vetting voters’ citizenship status, while Democrats allege that it is somehow discriminatory.
Arizona is reportedly one of a handful of states that already require would-be voters to present proof of citizenship prior to them registering to vote, however, there exists somewhat of a workaround.
Reportedly, Arizona residents are able to circumvent those proof of citizenship requirements outlined by the state via simply registering for a federal-only ballot, a method afforded under the National Voter Registration Act.
What that means is that a resident of Arizona can still participate in federal elections while bypassing guardrails established in the voter registration process in Arizona.
This is where HB 2492 comes into play, in that the legislation would compel counties to check the citizenship of individuals attempting to register for a federal-only ballot against multiple databases. And in the event a county finds someone isn’t a citizen, they must in turn reject the federal-only ballot application – or face a potential Class 6 felony if they knowingly disregard the requirement.
Like clockwork, Democrats began to ring the proverbial discrimination bell, going so far as to suggest that vetting the citizenship of would-be voters is a retaliatory move following the outcome of the 2020 election.
Democrat Senator Sally Ann Gonzales said the legislation is “absurd, illogical and discriminatory.”
Another Democrat, Senator Martín Quezada, alleged that the bill is both “offensive” and “unconstitutional.”
“We are voting on a bill that is unconstitutional and has a tremendous impact on the voters of the state of Arizona. There are many provisions in this bill that are offensive, and that will have a negative impact on some communities more than others.”
Republican Senator Warren Petersen claims that this bill simply works to thoroughly screen the citizenship status of individuals so that only United States citizens are participating in elections, thereby helping assure election laws are being complied with.
Senator Petersen stressed the importance of this legislation, noting how there are currently thousands of voters in Arizona whose respective citizenship status are unknown by state officials.
“The issue is making sure the citizens of this country are voting. If you’re not a citizen of this country, you’re not allowed to vote. We have over 35,000 people registered to vote where we are not certain whether they’re citizens or not.”