Today, the United States Supreme Court voted to throw out a state's voter-approved law that requires prospective voters to prove that they are U.S. citizens before being allowed to use a registration form that was produced under the federal "Motor Voter" voter registration law.
The Justices held that federal law prohibits states from requiring a person submitting a federal form to provide any information beyond what is required by the federal form itself. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 does not require people registering to vote via mail to provide documentation proving citizenship, but Arizona's Proposition 200 does require proof of citizenship.
In a statement, the vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and lead counsel for the voters who challenged Arizona's law said that the decision "sends a strong message that states cannot block their citizens from registering to vote by superimposing burdensome paperwork requirements on top of federal law."
The decision not only affects Arizona's law, but also similar laws in other states including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee. There are another 12 states considering implementing the similar laws. Those who pushed for the laws argued that it helps protect against voter fraud, including voting by people who are unauthorized to be in the country.
However, those against the laws say they are merely an attack on minority groups and other potential voters who are vulnerable, such as the elderly and poor. For that reason, the president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said today's decision was a victory and allows Americans to "register to vote for federal election without the burdens of state voter suppression measures."
The decision was 7-2, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting.
Source: Fox News, “Supreme Court: Arizona law requiring citizenship proof for voters is illegal,” The Associated Press, June 17, 2013