Arizona Republicans introduced legislation in response to the Supreme Court striking down the state’s law requiring proof of citizenship to vote.
Writing for the 7-2 majority, Justice Antonin Scalia the simple registration form in the 1993 National Voter Registration Act supersedes a state form not approved by the Election Assistance Commission.
“No matter what procedural hurdles a State’s own form imposes, the Federal Form guarantees that a simple means of registering to vote in federal elections will be available,” Scalia wrote. If Arizona was able to edit that process, “the Federal Form ceases to perform any meaningful function, and would be a feeble means of increasing the number of eligible citizens who register to vote in elections for Federal office.”
Reps. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.), and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation to attempt to give states the flexibility and authority to ask for additional documents to prove U.S. citizenship while registering to vote.
The bill would amend the 1993 act cited by Scalia in the ruling “to require an applicant for voter registration in the State who uses the Federal mail voter registration application form developed by the Election Assistance Commission under such Act to provide documentary evidence of citizenship as a condition of the State’s acceptance of the form.”
“One of the greatest privileges and responsibilities of a U.S. citizen is the right to vote. For these reasons, it is critical that we uphold the integrity of our voter registration system by ensuring only U.S. citizens are permitted to cast a ballot,” Salmon said. “In light of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision, I felt compelled to introduce legislation that ensures states have the right to ultimately decide for themselves whether or not to require additional documentary evidence to prove U.S. citizenship.”
Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, and Tennessee have similar voting requirements to Arizona’s 2004 Proposition 200. Twelve other states are weighing voter ID legislation.