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Should you have to prove citizenship before voting? Justices to weigh Arizona law

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether an Arizona law is constitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether an Arizona law is constitutional.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Supreme Court justices expressed some skepticism on Monday about an Arizona law that requires people registering to vote in federal elections to show proof of citizenship.

The legal question before the nine justices is whether the voter registration provision of the 2004 state law is trumped by a federal law, the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which outlines various ways in which people can register to vote in federal elections.

That law requires no proof of citizenship. Would-be voters simply sign a statement saying they are citizens.

Based on Monday's oral argument, it was unclear how the court will rule, but a number of justices, including regular swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy raised some concerns about the law.

Kennedy noted that the basic registration form required under the federal law was intended to make registering to vote relatively straightforward.

He said that the "whole utility of the form is gone" if it is made too complicated by states requiring additional information.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor appeared to agree on that point.

The federal law is intended to "simplify the process," she said. She questioned how requiring additional information could be "consistent with that objective and purpose."

Arizona, which shares a border with Mexico, has a reputation for passing tough anti-immigration laws that have brought it into conflict with the Obama administration.

Various residents, tribal groups and civil rights organizations objected to the law, including the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.

The case is Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-71.

Comments

waltspecht 1 year, 4 months ago

I have always thought you had to be a Citizen of this Country to vote in it's elections, or have I been wrong all these years? Are we supposed to take someone's word for it that they are a Citizen? Wouldn't that be like taking a Murder's word that they won't do it anymore, and we just let them go?

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VSU 1 year, 4 months ago

I say H&ll yeah they should prove citizenship.

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Cartman 1 year, 4 months ago

The answer is so obvious that it is disconcerting that the question is even being asked. Even the simple act of producing identification is being demonized. We require more scrutiny to purchase a pack of cigarettes than to vote in an election - and people complain.

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RedEric 1 year, 4 months ago

Sotomayor is living up to the expectations she is a Progressive Freak! The question should be how do we make sure that only citizens vote. Instead this miserable excuse for a human being wants to make sure registration is easy. So what if a few million votes are entered by noncitizens. All they are doing is making tax payers pizzed off.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 4 months ago

Is this what you get when you have a "sensitive Latina" in place on the court?

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MisterEd 1 year, 4 months ago

Picture ID required to buy beer, cigarettes. To prove you're old enough to get into an "R" movie. To open a checking account. To get a loan. To use a credit card. But not to vote. What in the actual hell makes sense about any of that?

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Bethany2012 1 year, 4 months ago

Everyone should have to prove citizenship ! I had to jump all kinds of hoops to be a citizen of the United States and was glad to do so ! I get very upset that some folks think they just jump a fence or loop hole and that gives them the right to stay and VOTE?! Try that in another Country and coming from Germany I can tell you they are not that nice about it.

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B4it 1 year, 4 months ago

These opposing groups (ACLU, tribal groups, and various residents) should be drilled as to why they think proving citizenship is a problem. Even if they feel a little inconvienced, this should be no reason to stop this law for the priviledge of voting. Many have sacrificed much more (than proivng residence) for this right.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 4 months ago

The ACLU knows what the Democrat Party knows which is that Voter Fraud is only possible when no proof is required. Since the Democrat Party specializes in Voter Fraud, ID threatens future elections for them, especially in big urban areas like Philadelphia etc. It not only affects the Presidential race but State Governors and Senators as well.

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