Monday marked yet another Supreme Court showdown for Arizona and the Obama administration. At issue, this time, was the state’s Proposition 200 measure, which requires voter registration applicants to provide documentation proving U.S. citizenship. Critics of the measure say the state has no authority to go beyond what’s required on the simplified federal voter registration form. On the federal form applicants must check a box indicating U.S. citizenship, sign attesting to that fact and drop the form in the mail. Arizona officials, citing hundreds of cases of non-U.S. citizens registering to vote, say additional barriers need to be put in place. Under Proposition 200, applicants can present a number of various documents, including driver’s license, birth certificate and certain Native American tribal documents. “If somebody’s willing to fraudulently vote, that person would be willing to sign falsely,” said Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who argued the case Monday. “We need evidence that the person is a citizen,” he added.
During the arguments, Justice Antonin Scalia expressed skepticism about the streamlined federal form. Referring to the required signature he said, “So it’s under oath – big deal.” Echoing Horne’s reasoning, Scalia added, “If you’re willing to violate the voting laws, I suppose you’re willing to violate the perjury laws.”
But despite any issues outlined by Arizona, many of the justices seemed to agree the state may have exceeded its authority on the issue of voter registration.