Federal Judge Issues Mixed Ruling On Arizona Voter ID

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued a mixed ruling on Thursday regarding Arizona policies intended to keep non-U.S. citizens from voting in its elections, on the one hand acknowledging the state’s right to bar non-U.S. citizens from its voter rolls, but on the other hand making it more difficult for the Grand Canyon state to do so.

“Considering the evidence as a whole, the court concludes that Arizona’s interests in preventing non-citizens from voting and promoting public confidence in Arizona’s elections outweighs the limited burden voters might encounter when required to provide [proof of citizenship],” U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton wrote.

It may seem like a victory for Republicans in Arizona, because Bolton upheld the state’s interest in election integrity and disagreed with the Biden administration’s Justice Department in its attempt to paint Arizona election law as discriminatory. But the U.S. district judge also struck down several Arizona laws written to ensure only Arizona residents are on state voter rolls.

Bolton struck down a provision of H. B. 2243 that directed county records in Arizona who have “reason to believe” a voter is not a citizen to take the initiative to investigate and remove the individual from the voter rolls if they are not a citizen.

The Arizona law required the county recorder to investigate voters “who the county recorder has reason to believe are not United States citizens and persons who are [registered] to vote without satisfactory evidence of citizenship as prescribed by Section 16-166 with the [SAVE] Program maintained by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.”

Furthermore, Bolton ruled that Arizona “may not reject State Form registrations that lack an individual’s state or country of birth,” arguing that “county recorders do not use birthplace information to determine an applicant’s eligibility to vote, nor do county recorders need birthplace to verify an applicant’s identity.”

Republican National Committee spokesman Gates McGavick told The Federalist that Biden’s DOJ is using the courtroom to legislate election policy, “Arizona has some of the strongest laws on the books to protect against noncitizens voting in elections, which is why the Biden Justice Department and left-wing activist groups filed eight lawsuits challenging them.”