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Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Ariz. Proof of Citizenship Law

Monday, 18 Mar 2013 10:19 AM

By Lisa Barron

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The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in a dispute over an Arizona law that demands all state residents show proof of U.S. citizenship before registering to vote in national elections.

Arizona is asking the court to uphold Proposition 200, adopted by voters in the state in 2004, which requires prospective voters to produce documents proving their citizenship even though the federal “Motor Voter” law allows states to treat an application for a driver’s license as a request for voter registration.

According to NBC News, four other states — Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, and Tennessee — have similar requirements requiring additional documentation, which they say will keep illegal immigrants from voting.

American citizenship is required to vote in any federal election and applicants must state under oath that they are citizens.

A coalition of Latino and Asian-American civil rights groups argues that Arizona’s Proposition 200, which goes one step further, requires naturalized citizens “to surmount additional and unique hurdles to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” NBC reported Monday.

A federal appeals court agreed, throwing out the part of Proposition 200 that added extra citizenship requirements for voter registration, ruling that Arizona departed so far from the Motor Voter Act that it was essentially rejecting the federal law.

Arizona argues in its legal brief submitted to the Supreme Court that the “requirement that applicants provide additional evidence to support their application does not constitute a 'rejection' of the federal form any more than an identification check at an airport gate entrance constitutes a 'rejection' of a passenger's ticket.”

The Obama administration is reportedly supporting the challenge to the Arizona law.
A ruling in the case, Arizona vs. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Inc., is expected to come sometime before July, NBC noted.

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