9th Circuit Tosses AZ Voter Proof of Citizenship Requirement

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today struck down Arizona's Prop 200, requiring voters to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote and proof of identification when casting ballots. The opinion is here:

Proposition 200 requires prospective voters in Arizona to present documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, ... and requires registered voters to present proof of identification in order to cast a ballot at the polls.... This appeal raises the questions whether Proposition 200 violates the Voting Rights Act § 2, 42 U.S.C. § 1973, is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth or Twenty-fourth Amendments of the Constitution, or is void as inconsistent with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA)....

We hold that the NVRA supersedes Proposition 200’s voter registration procedures, and that Arizona’s documentary proof of citizenship requirement for registration is therefore invalid.

The Court upheld the portion requiring voters to show identification when casting ballots. The likely effect: [More..]

Opponents of the 6-year-old law incorporating both provisions — designed to prevent illegal immigrants from voting — said the ruling would likely lead to thousands being turned away at next Tuesday’s elections for lacking the required identification records.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ invalidation of requirements for proof of citizenship comes too late for any prospective new voters who were barred from registering before the deadline for the Nov. 2 U.S. mid-term elections.

One of the groups challenging the law, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, estimates that since 2004 when the law was enacted, 30,000 Arizona residents were prevented from registering to vote by the requirement.

Georgia is the only other state with a similar law:

Georgia checks its voter registration rolls against its motor vehicle database. Those whose vehicle records indicate they are not citizens are allowed to register to vote, but their ballot will be discounted unless they show proof of citizenship, he said. That system is still undergoing preliminary federal review before it can take full effect.
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    These voter ID laws (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by eric on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:42:08 AM EST
    have nothing to do with preventing voter fraud.  There is no voter fraud problem.  Instead, the laws are intended to prevent certain people from voting.  Think about who is least likely to have an ID:  poor people, people who live in urban areas and don't have a drivers license, and young people.  Guess how all of these people vote?  Yes, that's right, they're Democrats.  Requiring an ID is the perfect way to disenfranchise a lot of Democrats.

    It's no coincidence that Republicans tend to favor these laws.

    They don't ALL vote Democratic. You shouldn't (none / 0) (#16)
    by Angel on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:46:45 AM EST
    make that blanket statement.  Otherwise, I agree with your comments.  I get aggravated when people try to put everyone in a box....

    Well, of course (none / 0) (#17)
    by eric on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:49:33 AM EST
    not everyone, but these constituencies are very strongly Democratic.

    And really, why shouldn't non-citizens be able to (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by beefeater on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 02:57:20 AM EST
    Vote in our elections? We should turn over all of our important decisions to the much more superior intelligence of the world community. How arrogant of this country to do otherwise.

    There are untold numbers of... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 08:01:41 AM EST
    red blooded American citizens without proper ID at any given time...their right to vote can not and should not be denied.

    Surely George Koros... (none / 0) (#31)
    by diogenes on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 11:22:39 PM EST
    Surely there is a political organization which can help every prospective voter get a proper ID.  Or else just say that governments which pass these laws must give free ID's to those who ask.

    We shouldn't need ID's to vote with (none / 0) (#32)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun Oct 31, 2010 at 09:18:42 AM EST
    unless you're in favor of a "Big Brother" approach to government.

    What's the problem (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 07:39:22 AM EST
    With showing ID when you vote?  Shouldn't we know that when "John Smith" of 123 Cherry Lane in Ferndale, Michigan goes to vote at his voting precinct, that it's really the same "John Smith"? Haven't states started accommodating those without drivers' licenses by offering free state ID cards (or at least, I remember lots of talk about it)?

    Cuz the right to vote... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 08:07:38 AM EST
    is too precious to potentially deny it simply because a voter lost their wallet, left it at home, or let their license expire.

    I don't get this obsession with paper...I go to vote, give my name and address, the dedicated poll workers find my name on the voter roll, I sign the roll, I vote...whats wrong with that system?  

    Besides, Is there any evidence whatsoever of a significant number of non-citizens attempting to vote?  


    I have to agree with this one (none / 0) (#6)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 08:23:59 AM EST
    Strike the provision requiring proof of citizenship, but uphold the proof of identification.

    If I'm a poll worker, I have no idea if you are who you say you are.


    Just wait till... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 08:36:39 AM EST
    partisan poll workers start going over ID's with fine tooth combs..."Sorry ma'am, your voter registration says 123 Cherry Lane, but your ID says 123 Cherry Road...you can't vote."

    "Sorry sir, your identification expired on 11/1/10, this is not valid ID...you can't vote."

    "Sorry, your ID says your first name is Deshawn but your voter registration says your first name is De'shawn...you can't vote."


    And it says you're 5'7"....but you're (none / 0) (#8)
    by Angel on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 08:55:06 AM EST
    actually 5'8".  Your eyes look green to me but here it says they're hazel.  Sorry - can't vote, you fraud.

    The increased possibility... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:01:55 AM EST
    of voter intimidation is endless with an ID requirement.

    And what is the greater sin?  A citizen's voting rights denied or a non-citizen slipping through the cracks and voting?  No brainer in my book...you err on the side of voting rights.


    Absolutely agree. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Angel on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:06:43 AM EST

    You can leave a blood sample for a DNA test (none / 0) (#11)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:07:28 AM EST
    But seriously, in most states don't you get your voter registration when you get your license? The data is the same. There are always tons of poll workers at a precinct, so if there was an issue with one you could conceivably talk to another, or a supervisor.

    It's not perfect, but there are so many reports every election about voter fraud that I wouldn't have a problem with it.

    Of course, I do live in Florida, and after the 2000 election, I probably should want it to be as simple as possible here.


    Voter fraud... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:21:39 AM EST
    I know Brand R claims Brand D are registering non-citizens on the regular, but I'm not sure I buy it is a pressing problem that requires a ID requirement fix.  The big voter fraud issues I see are shadiness on the part of election holders and vote counters, note voters.

    Sh*t another page in my book says if you live here you should have a say in who runs the joint...is it really that terrible a thing for people to get involved and invested?

    I just can't get worked up about a non-citizen voting like I get worked up about a citizen denied their voting rights because of a "papers please" requirement.  Like our criminal justice principles say letting 10,000 guilty go free is preferred to one innocent man being convicted...better to have 10,000 felons or undocumented residents vote than to deny one citizen their voting rights.  

    Not that I buy there are hoardes of non-citizens looking to influence our elections...they're too busy raking leaves & washing dishes to worry about Brand R vs Brand D faux choices.


    I guess you're right in that if you're gonna (none / 0) (#13)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:24:35 AM EST
    err, err on the side of voting rights. If we make more rules for voters, we make more opportunities to pervert the system.

    Well said... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:35:36 AM EST
    more rules, regs, and restrictions = more loopholes and more ways to game the thing.

    I'm also not keen on "papers please" getting out of hand in general...this was always an area where the USofA shined in the past among democracies, you didn't need government paper to every damn little thing...it's a tradition worth preserving as much as possible.  

    We need papers to work, we need papers to drive, we need papers to medicate ourselves, we need papers to sell hotdogs on the corner...enough with the paper.  


    You prefer rolling papers right? lol (none / 0) (#18)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 09:52:50 AM EST
    LOL... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 10:11:37 AM EST
    the law requiring you carry those at all times is of the unwritten variety:)

    You are thinking about how this would (none / 0) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 10:20:26 AM EST
    apply to you. To you this would not be a problem because you have a drivers license and probably would be able to access a birth certificate if need be.

    There are many older people, primarily minority voters, who do not have drivers licenses. Some in rural areas, do not even have birth certificates. What other form of proof do you suggest to allow people with a legitimate right to vote the ability to do so?


    Don't they have 'non driving' license (none / 0) (#21)
    by nyjets on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 10:38:29 AM EST
    Doesn't the DMV issue licenses that you can use for identification purposes but do not allow you to drive a vehicle.

    Yes... (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 10:45:40 AM EST
    but there is no rule that you have to get a non-driver ID...yet, afaik.  And you have to pay for it...so its basically a poll tax at that point, you shouldn't have to pay to vote.

    And if you lost your other forms of ID...birth cert., ss card, baptismal...you ain't getting a non-drivers ID without jumping through a whole lotta hoops. Obstacles to voting should be removed, we certainly shouldn't be adding obstacles.


    I am not disagreeing with you (none / 0) (#25)
    by nyjets on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 11:00:01 AM EST
    However, in this day and age, can a person live without either a driver license or non-driving license. Nowadays, you need a some form of id for everything.

    True... (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 11:14:44 AM EST
    it feels like you need photo id to take a leak these days...thats another problem:)

    Sure (none / 0) (#24)
    by sj on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 10:52:44 AM EST
    But the birth certificate requirement for a DL applies to ID as well.  My grandmother got her driver's license before there was a requirement to provide a birth certificate.  That would have been a major problem for her as we still have not been able to determine what year she was born, and even if her birth was recorded.  We know that definitely [some of] her siblings' births were recorded but we haven't found proof for all of them.  

    I mean proof of the record, of course. We have proof of their lives :)


    Not only do they require (none / 0) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 11:10:43 AM EST
    the same type of proof as a drivers license, there is a fee that must be paid to obtain and renew identification only licenses. Now $11 (MO) or $25 (FL) might not be much to you but it is to many people particularly those citizens who this type of legislation is especially targeted to make it difficult or impossible for them to vote.

    So now we are disenfranchising old people and (none / 0) (#23)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 10:49:33 AM EST
    minorities? I concede that if requiring someone to have an ID to vote will create more harm and irregularities than what we have now, then status quo it is. I personally don't think it would be that hard to get an ID, but it's not that big of a deal to me, for others it might be. I'm all about whichever system will get the greatest number of legitimate voters to the polls to vote.

    Just looked up Virginina law (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 07:47:46 AM EST
    Since I moved to my current apartment last year, and this will be the first election I am voting in, I had to find my precinct. Now, it doesn't say we have to have proof of citizenship per se, but getting a Virginia driver's license also took 3 or 4 pieces of ID in the first place.

    In Virginia

    ATTENTION Registered Voters....Virginia voters are reminded that federal and state law require all voters to provide some identification (ID) at the polls, or sign a statement, in order to vote at the polls. ID requirements may also apply to absentee voters who vote in person. You can check the status of your voter registration and determine which ID requirement applies to you through our website, http://www.sbe.virginia.gov at the tabs for Voter Information, Voter Registration Status. If you need assistance, please call us toll free at 1 (800) 552-9745 or Richmond local (804) 864-8901.

    Special Federal ID Requirements for Certain First Time Voters

    For persons who registered to vote in Virginia by mail, federal law requires them to show identification (ID) when voting for the first time in a federal election if they did not send a copy of one of these IDs with their voter registration applications. Voters subject to this special ID requirement will have the phrase "First-time Federal" after the "ID Required" item in their on-line voter registration record. Any of the following types of ID are acceptable:

       1. A current and valid photo ID (for example a driver's license);
       2. or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows name and address;
       3. or another government document that shows name and address (for example a voter card).

    This federal ID requirement applies the first time a person votes in any federal election, either on the day of the election or by absentee ballot. If the voter does not present one of these forms of ID at the polls, that person can still vote, but must cast a provisional ballot that includes a voter information statement under felony penalty. This is a paper ballot that the local electoral board may count the day after the election, if it can verify the person was qualified to vote in that precinct. Such persons have the right to appear before the Electoral Board and can request an extension up to one day to present evidence.

    When the person votes in other elections after his or her first federal election, regular Virginia ID requirements will apply, as to all other voters.

    Regular Virginia ID Requirements for All Other Voters

    Virginia law requires all other voters to provide identification (ID) at the polls, or sign an Affirmation of Identity under felony penalty, in order to vote at the polls. This ID requirement also applies to absentee voters who vote in person. Voters subject to this regular ID requirement will have the word "State" after the "ID Required" item in their on-line voter registration record.

    Acceptable forms of identification include the following:

        * Virginia voter identification card
        * Valid Virginia driver's license
        * Military ID
        * Any Federal, state or local government-
          issued ID
        * Employer issued photo ID card
        * Social Security card

    Any voter who forgets to bring acceptable ID to the polls may still vote but, will be requested to sign, under oath, an Affirmation of Identity form affirming that he/she is the voter he/she claims to be. A voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of physical disability or an inability to read or write may, if he so requests, also be assisted in completing this statement.

    Wonder if this Arizona case will sweep into other circuits or get struck down with the Supremes?

    Toll/spam alert. He's on the other threads too. (none / 0) (#29)
    by Angel on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 05:05:27 PM EST

    TROLL alert.... duh, not toll. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Angel on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 05:05:44 PM EST