Thursday, June 20, 2024

Arizona Law Requiring Proof of Citizenship to Vote Struck Down

A three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded Tuesday that Arizona cannot require residents to show proof of citizenship in order to vote as it violates the federal National Voter Registration Act.

The law which was authored by Republican State Sen. Russell Pearce, who also wrote the controversial anti-immigrant S.B. 1070, was approved by Arizona voters in 2004.

The National Voter Registration Act outlines what states can and cannot require of residents in order to vote.  It fell upon Judge Sandra Ikuta to write the majority decision, in which she specifically concluded that the requirement to produce one of a list of specified documents proving citizenship is on that list of what is not allowed.

“If you buy that argument, then I assume they are going to let us go through airports signing a certificate saying that ‘I am not a terrorist, I promise I don’t have any explosives in my underwear,’ ” Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who oversees elections for the state and vowed to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, said.  He claims that proof citizenship is necessary to protect the integrity of elections.

For his part, Pearce remarked that the ruling “flies in the face of common sense.”

“It should go without saying that states have the right to ensure that only citizens vote,” he said.

The ruling was praised by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), one of the groups that sued the state over its mandate.

“What the federal courts have done consistently now, recently, is told Arizona that these schemes that it’s coming up with, whether it’s voter registration schemes or whether they’re immigrant regulation schemes, are outside the bounds, and that Arizona has to comply with the superseding federal law,” Nina Perales, a MALDEF attorney, said.

The court let the requirement that voters provide identification in order to cast their ballot stand.

East Valley Tribune