Another item can be added to the list of those who have concerns about the integrity of the 2020 general election in Arizona.
President Joe Biden won the state by 10,457 votes (0.3 percent of the 3.4 million cast), which was the narrowest margin of any of the swing states that went for him.
Further, it was only the second time in the previous 70 years the state has sided with the Democratic candidate for president.
Last week, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2492 into law, which requires those who are only eligible to vote in federal elections in Arizona to provide documentary proof of citizenship.
“If they do not, they will not be eligible to vote in a presidential election or by mail,” Ducey’s office said in a Wednesday news release. “In 2020, more than 11,600 Federal Only Voters in Arizona participated in the general election without providing proof of citizenship. In Maricopa County alone, there are currently 13,042 active registered voters who have not provided evidence of citizenship to vote through use of the federal form.”
In other words, more people voted without being required to provide proof of citizenship — 11,600 — than the margin of Biden’s win in the Grand Canyon State — 10,457 votes.
In February, state GOP Rep. Jake Hoffman told Courthouse News that HB 2492 was intended to address a concerning trend in the number of “federal only” voters.
“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.”
And many of those federal-only votes likely came from Maricopa County, which encompasses the Phoenix metropolitan area and accounts for over 60 percent of the voters in the state.
In 2020, it was the only county in the state to flip from red to blue. Biden carried it with about the same 45,000-vote margin Republican Donald Trump did in 2016.
In a letter explaining his support for HB 2492, Ducey said, “Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote.”
This bill “is a balanced approach that honors Arizona’s history of making voting accessible without sacrificing security in our elections,” he added. “Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal elections. Arizona law prohibits non-citizens from voting for all state and local offices, and requires proof of citizenship.”
Democratic state Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales said the law creates a barrier to vote.
“I think [Republicans] hope is that not everybody is going to jump through those hoops and their hope is that the groups that are going to be impacted more are going to be the groups that are likely to vote against them,” Quezada told Governing.
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that Arizona could not require proof of citizenship beyond an oath for those seeking to vote in federal elections. However, the state could continue to have ID requirements to register to vote for state and local elections. The Court held that Arizona’s law at the time was pre-empted by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
Federal law “precludes Arizona from requiring a Federal Form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself,” then-Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority.
“Arizona may, however, request anew that the [Election Assistance Commission] include such a requirement among the Federal Form’s state-specific instructions, and may seek judicial review of the EAC’s decision under the Administrative Procedure Act,” he added.
The Associated Press reported that two lawsuits had already been filed challenging HB 2492, including one by Democratic election attorney Marc Elias on behalf of Mi Famila Vota.
Elias played a very active role during the 2020 campaign season suing in multiple battleground states to get election procedures changed.
Last month, the Election Systems Integrity Institute released a report concluding that the Maricopa County mail-in ballot signature verification process used during the 2020 general election was deeply flawed.
The study, overseen by systems engineer Shiva Ayyadurai, found that the county allowed approximately 200,000 ballot envelopes with mismatched signatures to be forwarded for counting without adequate additional review.
ESII researchers reported that 11.3 percent of the approximately 1.9 million mail-in ballots should have gone through the curing process, rather than the 1.31 percent — or about 25,000 — that actually did.
Ultimately, only 587 ballots were rejected, or 0.03 percent.
It should be noted that no information has been disclosed regarding whom any of these ballots was cast for. Therefore, even if all 200,000 ballots in question were to be thrown out — a highly unlikely proposition — there is no way to know whether the outcome of the Arizona election would be changed.
Based on the findings of the study, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to the Maricopa County recorder and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors requesting the voter signature files.