Supreme Court: Arizona Voter Proof Law Illegal

By admin June 17, 2013 18:47

AZL Supreme CourtArizonaLatinos staff

 The Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona law that requires people to submit proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

 The ruling was hailed by the law’s critics, who claim the law was intended to hinder Latinos, Blacks, Native Americans, legal immigrant and the elderly from casting their votes. Arizona argued that such a law reduces voter fraud.

 The 7-2 majority said the state’s voter-approved Proposition 200 interfered with federal law designed to make voter registration easier. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the court’s opinion for the court. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, two members of the court’s conservative wing, dissented.

Arizona’s Attorney General Tom Horne called it a “sensible precaution” to prevent voter fraud. A coalition of civil rights groups countered it added an unconstitutional and burdensome layer of paperwork for tens of thousands of citizens. 

 Three other states — Alabama, Georgia and Kansas — followed Arizona’s example have almost identical laws. They joined Arizona in urging the court to uphold the additional requirements for proof of citizenship.

 The case began when Arizona residents, civil rights groups and Indian tribes sued to challenge the state measure, which they said discriminated against otherwise eligible voters – among them members of more than a score of Native American tribes across the rugged desert state, some of whom struggle to meet additional requirements.

The case was argued and decided at a time when the Arizona legislature recently passed HB 2305,  a bill that change current election laws. The bill is now headed to Gov. Jan Brewer to either sign into law or veto.

 The changes are:

• Making it a crime for volunteer political workers and organizations to collect early ballots from voters and take them to polling places;

• Increasing the number of signatures that minor-party legislative and congressional candidates need to get on the ballot;

• Imposing higher legal standards on voter-sponsored initiatives, making it easier to throw them off the ballot if they do not strictly comply with each and every provision of the law;

• Adding some procedural requirements to recall laws.

 Martin Quezada, a Democratic state representative from District 13 on Phoenix’s west side, posted his reaction to the Supreme Court decision on his Facebook page.  “…This all happens days after AZ passed yet ANOTHER voter suppression bill, HB2305 which will ultimately also end up in courts. We MUST fight to protect our most fundamental right, our right to vote from the extremist legislature. … Hopefully Governor Brewer sees the writing on the wall and vetoes this damaging piece of legislation.”

By admin June 17, 2013 18:47

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