Lawsuit targets alleged voter intimidation efforts in Arizona as DOJ vows action
1 year ago
U.S. Department of Justice on Friday announced that it will sue Arizona over new laws passed last year to impose strict Voter ID requirements for voting in the November election. If successful, the lawsuit seeks to overturn those laws in state court and restore the state’s voting rights to some non-white groups.
In a press statement, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the Justice Department does not believe the state’s laws were lawful.
“Arizona’s Voter ID law was passed under the false pretense of preventing voter fraud, but as a result, it has led to an unprecedented wave of voter suppression by denying hundreds of thousands of eligible voters their fundamental constitutional rights to vote, and thus, their right to participate and elect their preferred candidates,” Lynch said.
The department’s lawsuit alleges that the new law is racially motivated because it is not a simple restriction on the ability to vote for whites only.
“The state’s law prohibits any and all non-white voters from voting or being registered to vote in future elections, regardless of where they live. Voter ID laws therefore serve as a powerful tool to disenfranchise those who lack the ability to receive and produce identification documents,” Lynch said.
The state will defend the law against the suit and other voter ID efforts in court. When a case is heard in federal court, the judge will have authority to take the state to trial on all claims.
Arizona is one of several states that have considered strict Voter ID laws in recent years in response to a surge of non-white voters at the polls.
In 2011, the U.S. Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, which required states that lacked a requirement of universal ID to pass at least one law of that type.
The voter law has become very popular in Arizona, where the number of