Monday, November 1, 2010

Proof of citizenship? Not so fast, Arizona

In a serious smackdown of Arizona, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals apparently wants people to vote. It gets a bit conflicting as you look at various provisions and rulings on showing ID and proving residency, but this particular decision means proof of citizenship is not a valid state test.
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A state can't require people to submit proof of citizenship when they register to vote, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in overturning a key provision of a 2004 Arizona initiative.

Federal law already requires voters to swear that they are U.S. citizens and meet age and residency criteria, and a state can't impose additional rules, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a 2-1 ruling.

The 1993 national law was intended "to reduce state-imposed obstacles to federal registration," the court said.

The majority included retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a former Arizona legislator and state judge who has been temporarily assigned to various federal appeals courts.

The court unanimously upheld another section of the Arizona law that requires voters to show poll workers proof of their identity. The judges cited a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing Indiana to require photo identification at the polls.

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