Federal Only Voters
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The Voter Registration Process

There are two forms a voter may use to register to vote, the state form or the federal form. Uniformed and overseas voters have other options available.

Regardless of which form is used, the voter is required to fill out the form and provide documentary proof of citizenship (DPOC) and documentary proof of residency (DPOR) in order to vote a full ballot. As a result of federal and state laws, Arizona has a bifurcated voter registration system which indicates if a voter met the federal registration requirements for voting only, or also met the state registration requirements. This means voters are registered one of two ways: a full ballot voter or a federal only voter.

What is a Full Ballot Voter?

A Full Ballot Voter is a voter that provided documentary proof of citizenship and residency when registering to vote, or the county recorder ascertained proof of citizenship from the voter registration database or the Motor Vehicle Division. A full ballot includes federal elections, state elections and local elections.

What is a Federal Only Voter?

A Federal Only Voter is a voter who registers to vote, but does not provide documentary proof of citizenship or proof of residency, and/or the county recorder is unable to ascertain citizenship status of the voter. Therefore, the federal only voter may only vote in federal elections (President, U.S. Senator, and U.S. House of Representatives).

Valid Forms of Documentary Proof of Citizenship

The following are acceptable forms of DPOC (only one copy is needed). Do not send originals, copies only, as you will not receive them back.

  • If you have an Arizona driver’s license or non-operating license issued after October 1, 1996, write the number in Box 9. This will serve as proof of citizenship and no additional documents are needed.
  • If you were not a U.S. citizen when your license was issued, but later became a U.S. citizen, complete Box 11 or provide another form of proof of citizenship.
  • Legible copy of a birth certificate that verifies citizenship. If the name on the birth certificate is not the same as your current legal name, submit supporting documents (e.g. marriage certificate)
  • Legible copy of the pertinent pages of your passport
  • Presentation to the County Recorder of U.S. naturalization documents, or your Alien Registration Number, Naturalization Certificate Number, or Citizenship Certificate Number (Box 11)
  • Indian Census Number, Bureau of Indian Affairs Number, Tribal Treaty Card Number, or Tribal Enrollment Number (Box 10)
  • Legible copy of your Tribal Certificate of Indian Blood or Tribal or Bureau of Indian Affairs Affidavit of Birth

Valid Forms of Documentary Proof of Residency

The following are acceptable forms of DPOR (only one copy is needed). Do not send originals, copies only, as you will not receive them back.

  • Any one of the identifying documents prescribed in A.R.S. § 16-579(A)(1) constitutes satisfactory proof of location of residence but is not an exhaustive list of the documents that can be used to satisfy A.R.S. § 16-123. Click HERE to view the list.
  • A valid unexpired Arizona driver license or nonoperating ID (“AZ-issued ID”), regardless of whether the address on the AZ-issued ID matches the address on the ID-holder’s voter registration form and even if the AZ-issued ID lists only a P.O. Box.
  • A valid and unexpired Arizona driver license or nonoperating identification number that is properly verified by the county recorder.
  • Any Tribal identification document, including but not limited to a census card, an identification card issued by a tribal government, or a tribal enrollment card, regardless of whether the Tribal identification document contains a photo, a physical address, a P.O. Box, or no address.
  • Tribal members and other Arizona residents are not required to have a standard street address for their home to satisfy A.R.S. § 16-123.
  • Written confirmation signed by the registrant that they qualify to register pursuant to A.R.S. § 16-121(B), regarding registration of persons who do not reside at a fixed, permanent, or private structure.
  • A person who is otherwise qualified to register to vote shall not be refused registration or declared ineligible to vote because the person does not live in a fixed, permanent, or private structure. A.R.S. § 16-121(C). A person who does not reside at a fixed, permanent, or private structure may use any of the following places as their registration address:
    1. A homeless shelter to which the registrant regularly returns;
    2. The place at which the registrant is a resident;
    3. The county courthouse in the county in which the registrant resides; or
    4. A general delivery address for a post office covering the location where the registrant is a resident.

If I am a federal only voter, how do I become a full ballot voter?

If a voter is registered as a federal only voter and wishes to become a full ballot voter, the voter must provide DPOC and/or DPOR by 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday before any given election in order to vote a “full-ballot” in that election.

Why do we have this system?

Arizona voters passed Proposition 200 in 2004 that requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote. You can read more about the proposition by clicking here.

After the passage, any voter registration that did not include proof of citizenship was rejected. However, subsequent litigation resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court striking down this provision of Prop. 200 and declared states must use and accept the federal voter registration form in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act. This led to Arizona's creation of the federal only ballot as a means of ensuring the voters' intent with the passage of Prop 200 was being met for state elections.

FAQs


Does this mean non-citizens are voting?
No. Voters must still attest under penalty of perjury that they are a United States citizen when they register to vote. Elections officials undertake numerous processes to update voter rolls to ensure only eligible voters are registered (referred of jury summons where a person indicated they were not eligible to serve on a jury because they were not a citizen, or if the MVD has records that a person is not a citizen.

A recent analysis of federal only voters was done by Votebeat and they identified the majority of federal only voters were concentrated on college campuses. This is logical as many college students do not have an Arizona driver license or immediate access to their birth certificates. You may find this article useful: https://www.votebeat.org/arizona/2023/12/18/arizona-federal-only-voters-concentrated-college-campuses-proof-of-citizenship/

All other states use and accept the federal form as well, but most do not require documentary proof of citizenship as Arizona does. Because of this, Arizona's voter rolls are actually more verifiable for the citizenship requirement than any other state. That being said, federal law still allows a person to attest to their citizenship and be registered for federal elections. To see a change in this, congress would have to take action.
How many federal only voters are there?
Arizona has approximately 35,000 federal only voters.

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