Former Arizona Supreme Court Justice and Attorney General Candidate Andrew Gould issued a statement in response to the lawsuits filed against HB2492.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (April 01, 2022) — As expected, the parade of lawsuits to enjoin HB2492, which requires proof of citizenship to vote, has begun. These lawsuits are neither supported by the facts nor the law. Simply put, HB2492 is a carefully crafted statute that affirms Arizona’s existing law requiring proof of citizenship for state elections. The only substantive change is that proof of citizenship is now required for Presidential elections (Senate and Congressional elections are not subject to the law). The basis for this change is that “Art. II, § 1, vests in the States the broad discretion to select their presidential electors as they see fit.” Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23 (1968). Further, “construction of the clause has conceded plenary power to the state legislatures in the matter of the appointment of electors.” McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1 (1892).
The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that substantial regulation of elections is constitutional, and that states have considerable leeway in protecting the integrity of the elections process. Requiring proof of citizenship to vote is a neutral, reasonable, non-discriminatory restriction that operates to exclude one group: non-citizens.
The current lawsuits appear to assume that it is unconstitutional to disenfranchise non-citizens. Of course, non-citizens have never had a right to vote under the Constitution, and so it is absurd to argue that HB2492 takes away a legal, constitutional right to vote from anyone.
As for the requirement that voters must submit proof of citizenship with their voter registration (such as a driver’s license or a utility bill), we have always required voters to submit forms proving their residence and eligibility to vote. This is a minimal burden at best. Nevertheless, in these lawsuits, the parties appear to argue that ANY restriction whatsoever on registering to vote is unconstitutional. They are wrong on the facts and the law.