'Discriminatory intent': Judge smacks down Arizona laws that seek to ban certain voters
The increase of the Latino vote was mitigated by a higher turnout among white non-Hispanics and less educated people that supported Donald Trump across the country (AFP Photo/David McNew)

A federal judge has blocked two Arizona laws that sought to impose new voting restrictions – and has cleared the way for civil rights groups to examine the reasons Republican legislators tried to push them through, according to a report.

The U.S. Department of Justice and seven civil rights groups sued the state over the laws signed by Republican former governor Doug Ducey that banned certain people from voting by mail or in state elections. District Court Judge Susan Bolton found that federal laws govern the requirement of proof of citizenship, not local ones, reported AZCentral.

“These laws … smack of discriminatory intent against voters who have been historically disenfranchised in Arizona," said attorney Danielle Lang, who represents Campaign Legal Center, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

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Democrats Kris Mayes and Adrian Fontes now serve as state attorney general and secretary of state, following November's election, so Republican Senate president Warren Petersen and House speaker Ben Toma would have to intervene to defend the laws.

However, Bolton's ruling would require them to submit to depositions and turn over any communications that would explain legislators' intentions in creating the laws.