Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the first of two important voting rights decisions. In this first case, SCOTUS ruled that Arizona can’t require that those trying to register to vote in federal elections provide proof of citizenship. Despite the ruling, reports this morning indicate that election officials in Arizona are planning on continuing the use of state registration forms that require documentation of citizenship.
Here’s a few key quotation from a report in the LA Times:
Hours after voting rights advocates were hailing Monday’s Supreme Court decision, officials indicated that Arizona will take advantage of a provision in the ruling allowing the state to seek to continue requiring the added documentation while it appeals to a federal agency. In effect, the Supreme Court’s ruling, which was viewed as a step forward in national voter registration law, could have a less of an immediate impact within the state.
“The next step is going to the EAC,” Arizona Atty. Gen. Tom Horne said of the federal Elections Assistance Commission, the agency that developed the federal form. After that agency, the state can go back to the courts where the state believes it can win and get to keep the requirement of added documentation on citizenship, Horne said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“The state form will not change, only the federal form,” Matthew Roberts, director of communications for Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, said in a telephone interview. Roberts said officials will continue distributing the Arizona form, which is used for about 95% of all voter registration. Only about 5% of the registrations come via the federal form, he said.
There’s a good summary of the coverage of this decision at SCOTUSblog.
The next case on voting rights from SCOTUS will be a challenge to the Voting Rights Act (Shelby County v. Holder), with a decision expected to be announced soon.