The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld -- in part -- Arizona's voter-approved 2004 law requiring voters to show proof of citizenship
before receiving a ballot.
The Appeals Court en banc
panel mostly shot down the challenges to the law, which had itself been upheld in Arizona U.S. District Court and by an earlier ruling by the Ninth Circuit.
Arizona can demand to see certain forms of identification that proves citizenship, the court ruled. And if someone doesn't have those forms of ID, paying the fees to obtain the ID isn't the same as a "poll tax."
However, the court also ruled that Arizona must not refuse federal voter-registration forms, which work on the honor system by asking applicants to check a box saying whether they're U.S. citizens. Arizona can't replace that form with its form that requires proof of citizenship, the court ruled.
What that means is that non-citizens could, theoretically, still vote in Arizona elections. At least, in federal elections. We're still unclear about whether voters not
using the federal voter registration form could still be required to prove citizenship when registering to vote with an Arizona registration form. We plan to file an update on this situation later.
Once the registration form is complete, Arizona election officials will continue to require voters to show ID -- but that ID could merely be a combination of a utility bill and a bank statement.
Activist groups representing Hispanics, American Indians, and women had challenged the law, claiming it was unconstitutional and violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. More »