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‘Oath’ Enough to Vote in Federal Contests, Arizona’s Top Election Official Says

Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2024
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by Outside Contributor
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57 Comments
arizona state flag; elections

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes contends that his state’s “bifurcated ballot system” requiring proof of citizenship to vote in state elections, but not federal ones, has worked effectively.

An oath of legal eligibility taken by voters for federal elections for Congress and president is entirely sufficient, Fontes says.

“We have the strictest regime in the country when it comes to noncitizens not being able to vote,” Fontes, a Democrat elected in 2022, told The Daily Signal. “We have a system where documented proof of citizenship has to be submitted [for state and local elections], and it’s a very cumbersome system. That’s what the law requires and we’ll continue to follow it. It’s far more thorough than we see just about anywhere.”

Arizona, which Donald Trump carried in the 2016 presidential election and Joe Biden carried in 2020, is a closely watched battleground state in 2024.

Last month, Arizona’s election system garnered increased scrutiny when billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk posted on his social media platform X, formerly Twitter: “Arizona clearly states that no proof of citizenship is required for federal elections.”

Although that’s technically correct, no other state requires proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections, either. Arizona, however, requires that proof before someone may vote in state and local elections.

That’s because in 2013, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in the case of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Ariz. Inc. that the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the motor voter law, determined that every state must accept the same standardized voter registration forms for federal elections. However, the ruling, written by then-Justice Antonin Scalia, determined that Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship to vote could apply to state and local elections, but not federal ones.

As a result, Arizona uses two different ballots for state and federal elections. An Arizona resident with documented proof of citizenship may vote using both ballots. An Arizona voter without proof of citizenship may still vote for president and Congress in a federal election.

A total of 32,487 Arizona voters participate only in federal elections, according to a report in December from the news outlet Votebeat, which covers election administration. In the 2020 presidential election in Arizona, more than 5,600 federal-only voters voted, Just the News reported.

Fontes, who took questions from The Daily Signal after speaking Tuesday at a National Association of Election Officials event in Washington, argues that keeping separate ballots isn’t a problem.

“We’ve got it all figured out,” Fontes said. “It’s one list [of voters] and we classify the voters with whether or not they’ve got their stuff [proof of citizenship]. We’ve been doing it for a while.”

Arizona’s secretary of state said there is no reason not to trust voters.

“It’s interesting to me that folks don’t think that an oath is enough. I find that curiously doubtful and I find that disturbing,” Fontes told The Daily Signal. “If we are not going to take our fellow citizens at their word, if we are not going to trust at all—a little skepticism is OK, but this is the basis of our civil society. This is the basis of our courts and military service and everything else. We trust because that’s what we are required to do as a civilization. To inject all this mistrust constantly, this drumbeat of doubt, with zero evidence to back up the doubt, that’s what I have a problem with.”

But Fontes is allowing a loophole to become worse in Arizona’s voting system, countered Ken Cuccinelli, chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative, a watchdog group.

“Leave it to the most radical, far-Left administration in the history of Arizona state government to exacerbate a loophole allowing noncitizens to vote in the state’s March GOP presidential primary,” Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general who was acting deputy homeland security secretary in the Trump administration, told The Daily Signal in a written statement.

“When it comes to illegal aliens who have flooded across our open border at unprecedented levels in recent years, so-called ‘honor systems’ don’t work—just like the system whereby those who have entered our country illegally are released from custody and allowed to resettle on a promise to appear at a court date months or years down the line,” Cuccinelli said.

Specifically, Arizona’s proof of citizenship requirement, posted on the secretary of state’s website, says: “A person must be a U.S. citizen in order to register and vote.”

But the provision goes on to say: “A person is not required to submit proof of citizenship with the voter registration form, but failure to do so means the person will only be eligible to vote in federal elections (known as being a ‘federal only’ voter). A ‘federal only’ voter will become eligible to vote a ‘full ballot’ in all federal, state, county and local elections if he or she later provides valid proof of citizenship to the appropriate County Recorder’s office.”

Arizona had a roadmap to bring the case before the Supreme Court again to reverse the 2013 decision, said J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity group. Multiple governors and secretaries of state never attempted to get the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s approval to require proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections.

“Arizona did what they thought they should do after the Supreme Court case, to bifurcate the registration system,” Adams told The Daily Signal. “What they didn’t do—which Justice Scalia invited them to do—was try to have the EAC [Election Assistance Commission] approve state-level instructions for citizenship. Scalia said if they deny you, then bring the case back and we will overturn their denial. But Arizona never followed through and did that.”

Adams also said that the problem of noncitizen voting in the United States doesn’t arise because of illegal immigrants but because of legal noncitizens with green cards and visas who either get swept up in voter registration drives or by errors at motor vehicle offices in states across the country, Adams added.

“Historically, illegal aliens don’t want to walk into a voting office and register,” Adams told The Daily Signal. “It’s people who are here legally who get sucked into the system.”

“People who are here illegally are scared of the system,” he said. “They don’t want to get into it, so they hide. They hide in basements and railroad cars. They don’t go to a voter registration office. It’s people who are already here that are the problem.”

Reprinted with permission from The Daily Signal by Fred Lucas.

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Carl S.
Carl S.
2 months ago

Proof of citizenship is the only way to prove citizenship and an oath means nothing to a liar.

kitty hogan
kitty hogan
2 months ago

we need ID for everything, but voting?

Dean Howerton
Dean Howerton
2 months ago

why do you think bejing biden wants all the illegals here

Leslie
Leslie
2 months ago

You mean like the oath both Mayorkas and Biden took to protect our country? Clearly Mr. Fonts is counting on the illegals to vote Democratic. The two-faced Dems will allow anything that benefits them, but if the Republicans were to do this same thing to benefit Republicans votes, it would be tossed out in a heartbeat. I can’t believe the corruption in this administration.

Kdesq
Kdesq
2 months ago

What the cheating slime bag fantas didn’t say, was that the ballot justifications may be on the books, but the cheating isn’t there. The cheating is between the off-site vendor who verifies alleged signatures on mail-in ballot envelopes in Maricopa county and when those envelopes get to the counting center. Any number could have been removed or added and there’s no way to know because they aren’t checked again. The only county in the United States that does this. No, we do not have the most strict voter regulations in the country, it is just the opposite. How do you think fantas got elected?

Fred
Fred
2 months ago

This is absurd and those responsible should be removed from any office to do with elections. Electing the President is even far more important than State elections, Bidum is proof of that! A governor can screw up a state, but the President has put the whole nation at risk. Voter I.D. has to be required to vote in any election and only a citizen can vote. That’s the law!

Rhonda
Rhonda
2 months ago

Trust but verify. –Ronald Reagan

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Then explain 2020 vote fiasco

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 months ago

The hardship in producing an ID at election time is in the same category as those coming here without any documents claiming they’ve lost them during their perilous journey but every one has a functioning paid for cell phone Not even one lost that

Patriot Eric
Patriot Eric
2 months ago

Anyone that believes creepy, sleepy, sniffy, dementia Joe actually won the election in 2020 needs to get their head examined. 81 million votes my A$$!

Vince
Vince
2 months ago

This is absolute nonsense about an oath for federal elections is all that’s needed. ID proof needed always.

PapaYEC
PapaYEC
2 months ago

Blatant Democrat ELECTION FRAUD.

TommyD
TommyD
2 months ago

Fontes is your typical liberal IDIOT!! If there’s a smart requirement to vote in state and local elections, the exact same criteria should be needed to vote in federal elections. If you drove around AZ in 2020, you saw all of the Trump flags, stickers, etc., everywhere. Biden was declared the winner with only 5% o the vote turned in during the 2020 election. You can’t buy Zyrtec allergy medicine without showing ID in AZ, you shouldn’t be able to vote for the POTUS simply by “swearing” that you are telling the truth and are eligible. Only people that have something to hide, don’t want to make voting more secure. Fontes is a bonkers.

Gary
Gary
2 months ago

I believe that you should have to prove who you say you are before being allowed to vote period. This can be quickly done by showing a valid driver’s license. Illegal immigrants should not be given driver’s licenses. Allowing benefits and privileges for committing a crime is obviously a bad idea…

Ken Linderman
Ken Linderman
2 months ago

Illegal aliens don’t seem to be scared enough of the system to not cross our border illegally. You know, even Mexico requires voter ID. There is absolutely no reason why a voter ID should not be required to vote in US elections and voting in person, with exception for military and occupations like truckers, should be the law of the land.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

Somebody needs to remind FJB he took an oath as well as every traitor that works for him. And they don’t even get a percentage if the 10 % the Big Guy gets!

Rexford Ames
Rexford Ames
2 months ago

Arizona has completely undone the Voter Process, to the degree that the Secretary of State, can place herself, as the new State Governor without being on the voter ballot! Therefore, her Party Bosses have completed their take-over of Arizona’s Free Elections!
Now. Politicians and their Deep State friends control who and when Candidates get on any ballot and then change any election that they disapprove or approve on any election system.
So much for Freedom!

Elaine
Elaine
2 months ago

Secretary of State Fontes needs to take a civics class and read the Constitution. How do these unlearned people get appointed or elected?
We have a very serious problem when these statements that are being said is factual. A lot of people accept the untruth because of a title attached to their name. We are now reaping the substandard educational system in the schools lowering the bar of learning.

Phil
Phil
2 months ago

Fontes is a partisan, corrupt politician who “won” his election the same way bi-den did– by counting ineligible votes. ????

james carlyle
james carlyle
2 months ago

Worse place for elections in the USA

Patty
Patty
2 months ago

How stupid!

Bill C.
Bill C.
2 months ago

It is against Federal law to enter this country without proper documentation and screening. Those who enter any other way are breaking the law, which makes them criminals, by definition, and therefore, “illegal.” What intelligent mind would conclude that a criminal (illegal) would respect and honor an oath?

Mary
Mary
2 months ago

So, allowing citizens of other counties to determine who runs this country, is desired by the dems.

Freedom will ring!
Freedom will ring!
2 months ago

Not just dumb, but very dangerous, or even deadly to Democracy! If we aren’t able to have a mostly fair & honest election in November, we will no longer have a true representative republic, & the United States of America, as we know it, will cease to exist. The legacy we are allowing to be created for our grandchildren is getting worse every day! Now is definitely the time for all good men & women to come to the aid of their country, before it disappears forever! Volunteer to be an observer at your local polling place & quickly report any voting irregularities you witness. Make sure any abnormalities are checked out & corrected. It may well be our last chance to save our great country. We need to elect individuals who will secure all our borders, regulate & control immigration & get both houses of congress functioning properly once again. The system of checks & balances between the executive, legislative & judicial branches of our federal government needs to be restored & each branch restored to the original purposes for which each was intended to perform, according to our Constitution. A good dose of reason, logic & common sense instilled in our duly elected officials would also be very beneficial! Remember, we “hired” them, they are supposed to be working for us, not the other way around!

Christopher Barnes
Christopher Barnes
2 months ago

That is propesterous people should have to prove citizenship to vote in any election Period. We now have an election season in this country full of fraud, ballot harvesting, and its not legal according to laws and our constitution, i hope people wake up! Our country is being destroyed from the inside out by crooked politicians and beraucrats. This has to end. We should have one day of elections, thats it!

David Dunmore
David Dunmore
2 months ago

When elected officials violate their oath of office every day, what makes a politician believe that an oath of eligibility means anything to anyone. If we enforced penalties for violating the oath of office maybe there would be less of it occurring in our government.

james carlyle
james carlyle
2 months ago

nonsense

Eileen
Eileen
2 months ago

The federal government (congress) just has to pass a federal voting law that only real US Citizens ( born from parents who are legal citizens and people who have gotten their US Citizenship and denounce the country they came from) can vote in Federal Elections, which would make it the law in all 50 states and territories.
WHEN IS CONGRESS GOING TO STOP THE BS AND DO THEIR JOB TO FIX THE PROBLEM? McCONNEL & JOHNSON??

Harry
Harry
2 months ago

People are basically fed up with AZ for many reasons in addition to crooked elections! It will eventually show up on their bottom line!

Fred
Fred
2 months ago

The Dimocrap slimebags are doing it again. They not only commit election fraud but now they even brag about it before the election. Anyone involved in this should spend the next 20 or 30 years in a Federal prison.

James
James
2 months ago

Lewis Black said it best. “You can call it the kings ~#+$, that doesn’t mean it’s the kings ~#+$”. Oaths mean nothing to these people. It’s past time for our states to be very aware of how criminals think. Next we will allow Putin to vote. Enough!

Sam
Sam
2 months ago

And the USA is just that much further down the tubes. To the all of those voting for Biden back in 2020, I hope you enjoy the country we used to have when China, Russia, AOC and her bunch get done with it.

Gayle Huffman
Gayle Huffman
2 months ago

This just demonstrates the hypocrisy of those who are already in power. They will cheat and say they aren’t. Forget democracy. Forget Republican government. Ben Franklin said it right when he said “if you can keep it”.

Sydney
Sydney
2 months ago

Trust, but verify. Proof of citizenship before being allowed to vote, period. I visualize our nation crumbling before my eyes.

caseyp
caseyp
2 months ago

Arizona, California and New York should secede and form their own socialist country.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

I am getting a headache!! Why is a Democrat running the elections. Get someone with no affiliation with ANY party . 2 ballots why the confusion?? Get one ballot period !!! Why is the motor vehicle department getting involved with elections?? Do your job and make license plates and Id’s that’s it !! If it takes a election agency to track current voters rules and handle anything related to elections Get it done now . Stop talking about it !! I don’t wanna hear about a county using sharpies 2 different ballots maybe 4 ballots . Stop the confusion!!

Laurie
Laurie
2 months ago

I live in a small town in Illinois, and I’ve always had to show ID so they can check my name off their list. It’s ridiculous to think liberals think that the criminals who snuck into our country should be granted any rights! They need arrested and deported!

I ask the lord
I ask the lord
2 months ago

Don’t show ID to them old people! They will use them to take your guns! Lol

Linda
Linda
2 months ago

Very interesting and thanks very much for sharing this

Linda
Linda
2 months ago

Very interesting indeed and thanks for sharing

Took your gun
Took your gun
2 months ago

look on the bright side of this you old geezers. If you showed id they might take take your guns one day. Not that that’s hard lol

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