The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that Arizona cannot require voters to document their citizenship before allowing them to cast ballots in federal elections. Arizona voters in 2004 approved Proposition 200, which requires voters to document their citizenship before allowing them to cast ballots in federal elections. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down the law. Rather, the high court said that a 1993 federal law takes precedence. That statute says people may register to vote using a federal form that asks, under penalty of perjury, whether they are U.S. citizens.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he thinks the ruling will not invalidate a similar law in his state that aimed, like the measure in Arizona, to exclude people who are in the country illegally from participating in U.S. elections.
The Kansas law that went into effect Jan. 1 requires those registering to vote for the first time to provide proof of U.S. citizenship. But Kobach, the state’s chief elections officer, said the Kansas law differs in some key ways from the Arizona statute.
“We very intentionally and carefully drafted the law to avoid the pitfall that the Arizona law fell into,” Kobach said in an interview.
An official with the American Civil Liberties Union in Kansas City wasn’t so sure.
“This certainly raises big questions about whether the Kansas law will be allowed to go forward or not,” said Gary Brunk, the ACLU’s executive director for Kansas and western Missouri.