The state of Arizona has asked the Supreme Court to uphold its law for how voters register. The process is one that many states say reduces the opportunity for voter fraud but that advocates of civil rights insist is only to discourage the participation of minorities and legal immigrants.
On Monday, arguments will be heard by the justices in a dispute regarding Proposition 200 that voters in Arizona adopted in 2004. The proposition requires that all residents submit proof they are citizens when registering to vote in Arizona.
Civil rights advocates said the law requires citizens who are naturalized, predominantly Asians and Hispanics, to climb over unique hurdles to be able to exercise their right to vote.
This case is a conflict of two powers granted by the Constitution – the states’ rights to make their own laws for how federal officials are elected and the authority Congress is given to change those same laws.
The National Voter Registration law was passed by Congress 10 years ago. The law requires every state to treat a driver’s license application as a voter registration request.
Registration can also be done by mail, along with the traditional form of registering when arriving to vote. Under the NVR, each state has to accept and use a form made by the federal government or a version of it, as long as the federal government deems it equivalent.
A requirement to take part in any federal election is U.S. citizenship and the form the federal government has stats that under penalty of perjury the person signing is an American citizen. However, Proposition 200 in Arizona requires applicants to provide proof of citizenship when they register.