Arizona Advocacy Network

Government of, by and for the People

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The U.S. Supreme Court on March 18 will hear arguments surrounding Arizona's 2004 voter-approved requirement that residents show proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

In the case surrounding Proposition 200, state attorneys will ask the high court to overturn a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said the state cannot require Arizona voters to provide documents when registering with the federal form, but it can require voters registering with the state form to do so.

Among its provisions, the National Voter Registration Act creates a standard federal registration form that all states must accept. It requires applicants to sign a statement that they are citizens, but it does not require them to show any proof.

Prop. 200 required applicants, regardless of whether they were submitting a federal voter-registration form or a state one, to provide a driver's license, passport, birth certificate, tribal identification or naturalization certification number.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has said the document requirement is important to guard against fraud and that he plans to argue for it when the high court hears the case.

The Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, which opposes the policy, has said the document requirement denies people the chance to vote.

Arizona voters approved Prop. 200 by 56 percent to 44 percent. The proof-of-citizenship requirement pertains to both registering to vote and voting; however, the requirement to show ID at the polls is not part of this case.

Arizona was the first state to require voters to show proof of citizenship, but Kansas and Georgia have followed suit in the past couple of years. The Appeals Court ruling did not impact the other states, but a Supreme Court ruling would.