Arizona GOP Passes Another ‘Show Me Your Papers’ Voter Suppression Bill

Vote suppression
Arizona GOP Passes Another ‘Show Me Your Papers’ Voter Suppression Bill

Arizona’s GOP-controlled House has passed a voter suppression bill that will require that voters provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. House Bill 2492, also known as While Kyrsten Sinema Was Sleeping, will also prohibit elections officials from serving on hand counting teams.

PREVIOUSLY: Arizona GOP Officially Done With People Voting Against Republicans

Democrats have called out House Bill 2492 as a blatant voter suppression effort that’s clearly unconstitutional. (They still believe “unconstitutional” is a word that means something.)

Arizona Courthouse News reports:

"We've seen this in other states, and we've seen this here in Arizona," said state Representative Lorenzo Sierra, D-Avondale. "This bill, if we pass this here today, is not going anywhere. It's going to end up in the Supreme Court. And they're going to bat it back right at us like they've done time and time again.”

Rep. Lorenzo Sierra is adorable. He thinks the MAGA Supreme Court cares about precedent or the Constitution.

In 2004, voters approved the Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, also known as Proposition 200. However, in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down elements of Proposition 200 that required proof of citizenship from individuals who use a federal voter registration form to vote. The Court ruled 7 to 2 that the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which would likely never become law today, superseded Proposition 200’s ID requirement.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion that rejected Attorney General Tom Horne’s argument that Arizona could demand more from voters than the federal form requires.

"No matter what procedural hurdles a State's own form imposes, the Federal Form guarantees that a simple means of registering to vote in federal elections will be available," Scalia wrote.

Scalia’s replacement Merrick Garland Neil Gorsuch is arguably even less a fan of voting rights. It’s not hard to imagine Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joining Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas and letting the Arizona law stand.

Also, experts were concerned in 2013 that the Court might’ve kept in some “poison pills” in its opinion. Voting-rights expert Richard Hasen of the University of California Irvine claimed Scalia’s opinion opened the door for "potential arguments that states could make down the line so that they will not have to follow federal mandates on elections."

HB 2492's sponsor, GOP state Rep. Jake Hoffman, insists that the bill is a response to a disturbing trend of what we assume is Democrats winning statewide.

"In 2018, there were only 1,700 individuals who didn't have documentary proof of citizenship on file," Hoffman said. "In 2020, there were almost 12,000. So clearly, this is a trend that is increasing. This bill ensures that there is maximum flexibility to provide documentary proof of citizenship, but we don't want foreign interference in our elections.”

Russia interfered in our elections in ways both subtle and gross. There’s no evidence undocumented immigrants are risking deportation so they can illegally alter election outcomes. That’s a Tucker Carlson racial panic special. According to Arizona’s own election officials, "instances of non-citizens or undocumented immigrants attempting to register, let alone casting ballots, are extremely rare."

But the term “foreign interference” is GOP for “too many brown people.” The Latino population in Arizona has grown considerably in the past few decades.

Residents identifying solely as white take up a smaller share of the state's population, having dropped from 73 percent in 2010 to 60 percent in 2020.

Most recent census data revealed:

Maricopa County saw its rate of mixed-race residents grow from 3% to 13% over the last decade.

Yuma County's racial demographics changed significantly with its white population dropping from 70% to 44% and the county's mixed-race population growing from 3% to 25%.

Changing demographics is why the GOP is pulling out all the voter suppression stops, and we can’t rely on past Supreme Court guardrails to save us this time.

[Arizona Courthouse News]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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