Voting and civil rights groups cheered a decision by the Supreme Court Monday that struck down an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship for voting. The court’s 7-2 ruling said Arizona’s voter-approved Proposition 200, which required proof of citizenship for voter registration, was trumped by the federal “motor voter” law that only requires a potential voter to swear to their citizenship. Justice Samuel Alito, in one of two dissenting opinions, said the court’s ruling “seriously undermines” the state’s interest in preserving the integrity of elections. And Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said late Monday that the state is not about to give up the fight, saying the state would pursue appeals with the Election Assistance Commission and the courts. But Proposition 200 opponents think it is too late for the state, now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the case.
“We don’t think it’s going to be successful,” said Nina Perales, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, of Bennett’s plan.
In a conference call after Monday’s ruling, League of Women Voters spokeswoman Elisabeth MacNamara said simply: “State restrictions lost. Voters won.”
The case, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, stems from challenges to Proposition 200, which was approved by voters in 2004. Opponents argued that the additional requirements to show proof of citizenship for mail-in voter registration forms exceeded federal registration law.
The federal form only asks voters to pledge that they are citizens and sign a form attesting to that.