Despite a Supreme Court ruling that prohibited Arizona from requiring proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections, state election officials are moving forward with restrictions for local elections.
Election day volunteer Vicki Groff places a sign to direct voters to a polling station at Kenilworth School February 28, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images)
Arizona’s attorney general is recommending a dual-track voting system in the state for future elections—one ballot for voters registered with federal registration forms, and one for state elections that voters would only be allowed to participate in with proof of citizenship.
“For state and local matters, registration is contingent on each applicant’s providing evidence of citizenship,” Attorney General Tom Horne wrote in an opinion issued Monday. Horne’s op-ed was in response to Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who questioned Arizona’s voting procedures and asked whether “evidence-of-citizenship” was required to vote.
Bennett’s question comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling on a 2004 voter registration law that was designed to stop undocumented immigrants from voting in Arizona. Under Proposition 200, a person must provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, and show a photo ID in order to receive at ballot at the polls.
The Supreme Court struck down the provision in the law earlier this year that required proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections because it violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
But Horne contended that the Supreme Court’s ruling does not change the rules for local elections. ”Because Arizona law requires a registration applicant to provide evidence of citizenship, registrants who have not provided sufficient evidence of citizenship should not be permitted to vote in state and local elections unless such a dual registration system is invalid under the federal or state constitution,” Horne wrote.
Opponents of the Prop 200 accused Horne and the election officials of targeting minority voters with restrictions to stop them from casting ballots. ”It’s part of the war on voters,” Arizona Advocacy Network executive director Sam Wercinski told The Arizona Republic.
Arizona is not the only state beginning its crackdown on voters: more than 50,000 voters were recently removed from Virginia’s voter rolls ahead of the state’s November 5 election for governor, House of Delegates, and city offices.