U.S. Supreme Court to hear Prop 200 case

March 18, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments Monday about part of Arizona’s Proposition 200.  The high court will decide if Arizona overreached when the state required people to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote using a federal form.

US Supreme Court The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether Arizona will be allowed to proof of citizenship from people registering to vote. (Photo by Associated Press via NPR)

The Voter Registration Act of 1993 created a federal registration form that states must accept. The federal registration form requires applicants to verify they are citizens when they sign it.

“It’s really no protection to have an honor system where you have to rely on someone’s signature,” Horne said at a rally Wednesday. “If someone’s willing to vote fraudulently, he’s going to be willing to sign falsely.”

Horne will argue Arizona’s case in front of the Supreme Court.  He says requiring additional proof of citizenship like a birth certificate is not a burden that outweighs maintaining the integrity of the elections process.

But Nina Perales of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which brought the original lawsuit, says that misses the point.

“The case is about congress’s authority to regulate federal elections,” Perales told KJZZ.

Perales says the proof of citizenship requirement makes it unnecessarily difficult to register to vote, and that tens of thousands of people were disenfranchised in the first years after the proposition passed.

A federal court blocked the requirement during the last presidential election.

Arizona was the first state to pass a proof of citizenship requirement, but Alabama, Kansas and Georgia now have similar requirements.

Proposition 200 changed the state voter registration form to require proof of citizenship, and that voters produce identification at polling stations.  The Supreme Court is not looking at those pieces of the proposition.

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