Arizona has racially polarized voting and discriminated against Latinos, but a voter identification law did not disenfranchise Hispanics, a Court of Appeals ruled. A 12-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a law that required voters to show ID before casting their ballots, ruling it didn’t give Latinos less opportunity to vote. The court, however, struck down a critical provision of the law, known as Proposition 200, that required that voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in federal elections. The court ruled the federal National Voter Registration Act trumps that section of the Arizona law. MALDEF, a Latino civil rights organization, one of the organizations that challenged the 2004 law, hailed the decision.
“Today’s ruling vindicates all the U.S. citizens who were improperly rejected for voter registration in Arizona,” stated Nina Perales, Vice President of Litigation for MALDEF, which argued the case court. “Arizona may no longer flaunt federal law in voter registration, particularly in a manner that discriminates against newly naturalized citizens.” That federal law allows voters to fill out a mail-in voter registration card and swear they are citizens under penalty of perjury, but it doesn’t require them to show proof as Arizona’s law does.