Arizona Law Requiring Voters Prove Citizenship Is Struck Down
PHOENIX — A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down a key part of Arizona’s law requiring voters to prove they are citizens before registering to vote and to show identification before casting ballots.
The decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law requiring voters to prove their citizenship while registering is inconsistent with the National Voter Registration Act. That federal law allows voters to fill out a mail-in voter registration card and swear they are citizens under penalty of perjury, but doesn’t require them to show proof as Arizona’s law does.
The ruling left in place a requirement that voters provide proof of identity when casting ballots.
Lawyers for several civil rights groups that sued argued thousands of Arizonans have had their federal registration forms rejected because they failed to provide other documents required by the state. That violates the federal law, they argued.
The state law in question, Proposition 200, was passed by voters in 2004. It required proof of citizenship during voter registration and of identity at the polls, and also while receiving certain state benefits.
It has been upheld by state and federal courts until Tuesday’s decision.