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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

AAPIs file Legal Complaint against Arizona State Laws in Violation of the U.S. Constitution and Federal Voting Laws

AAPIs file Legal Complaint against Arizona State Laws in Violation of the U.S. Constitution and Federal Voting Laws

 

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC (Advancing Justice – AAJC) and global law firm Latham & Watkins, along with local counsel Spencer Fane, filed a complaint on behalf of Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander for Equity Coalition (AZ AANHPI for Equity Coalition) against officials in Arizona tasked with enforcing election laws and implementing House Bill 2492 and House Bill 2243, two state laws that stand in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 

In 2022, Arizona passed H.B. 2492 and H.B. 2243, two state laws designed to restrict and deny the voting rights of Arizona’s voters of color and naturalized voters. Combined, they establish various citizenship and “proof” requirements for voting, along with swift voter cancellations and the creation of an “anyone-can-accuse” investigation system that refers accused voters who are unable to provide onerous evidence of citizenship to criminal investigations.

 

“All Arizonians deserve the right to vote fairly and equally, no matter their race, country of origin, or path taken to citizenship,” said May Tiwamangkala, Democracy Defender Director at AZ AANHPI for Equity Coalition. “We reject any attempt to restrict this fundamental right by imposing discriminatory and arbitrary requirements designed to suppress voters of color and naturalized voters, including AANHPIs.”

 

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are among one of the fastest growing racial groups in Arizona, with over 40% of AANHPI voting age Arizonans being naturalized U.S. citizens and over a quarter of AANHPI Arizonans being limited English proficient (LEP). If implemented, H.B. 2492 and H.B. 2243 will create additional barriers for U.S. citizens to register to vote and to cast a ballot, especially for those who are naturalized, LEP, and have limited access to in-language voting rights information and resources.

 

“H.B. 2492 and H.B. 2243 will have a disproportionate impact on many AANHPI voters and naturalized voters in Arizona. These laws further inflame xenophobia by perpetuating false claims of voter fraud committed by non-citizens,” said Niyati Shah, Director of Litigation at Advancing Justice – AAJC. “We urge the state to remove these barriers and meet its obligation to protect and expand the voting rights of Arizonans.”

“Simply put, restricting the right to vote is against the law. As we look forward to proving in court, these state laws violate the Constitution as well as landmark legislation designed to uphold and strengthen our democracy,” said Sadik Huseny, Latham & Watkins partner.

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