Federal judges engaged in a lively debate with lawyers Tuesday over Arizona’s effort to require people to show proof of citizenship when they register to vote.
Federal voter registration law allows people to submit a mail-in voter registration card and swear they are citizens under penalty of perjury. But Arizona’s law – approved by voters in 2004 as part of a ballot measure – seeks further documentation, such as a driver’s license.
An 11-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lobbed questions at Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, representatives of minority groups that have challenged the Arizona law and a Department of Justice lawyer from Washington, D.C.
Nina Perales of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund said at least 30,000 potential voters have been excluded from voting in Arizona because they failed to provide other documents required by the state – even though there was no evidence they weren’t eligible to vote. Not all Arizona residents have driver’s licenses – just 90 percent, she said.
Attorney Jon M. Greenbaum, a civil rights lawyer representing Indian tribes, said the added requirements works against those who live on Indian reservations.
“The federal form was supposed to make registration simple,” he said. “Members of Indian tribes are sometimes 90 miles away from a registration office where they could provide documentation.”
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski interjected. “But not 90 miles away from a mailbox, right?” he asked.
Greenbaum replied that anyone on an Indian reservation should be able to mail in the postcard and simplify the process.
“Arizona is undermining that,” he said.
Full Article: Arizona Voter ID Law Challenged In Court.