By Eric Beech and Katharine Jackson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday sued the state of Arizona to block a state law that requires voters to provide proof of citizenship for some federal elections.
Due to take effect in January, the law violates the National Voter Registration Act by requiring proof of citizenship to vote in presidential elections or vote by mail in any federal election, the department said.
“This lawsuit reflects our deep commitment to using every available tool to protect all Americans’ right to vote and to ensure that their voices are heard in our democracy,” Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, told a press briefing.
Arizona has been a flashpoint in the U.S. battle over voting rights.
A Republican-led review of the 2020 presidential election failed to find that irregularities marred Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow victory over Republican Donald Trump.
The suit said a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision rejected an earlier attempt by Arizona to impose a similar documentary proof of citizenship requirement on applicants seeking to vote in federal elections.
It contends the state law violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act by requiring election officials to reject voter registration forms based “on errors or omissions that are not material to establishing a voter’s eligibility to cast a ballot,” the department said in a statement.
(Reporting by Katherine Jackson and Eric Beech; editing by Andy Sullivan and Leslie Adler)