When Georgia Bartlett moved to Arizona more than a year ago, she did what she’s done in each of the many states where she lived since reaching voting age: She registered to vote. But Bartlett, 68, who moved to Phoenix from Arkansas to be near her grown children, was tripped up because she used a federal form to register. She signed under penalty of perjury that she’s a citizen entitled to vote, but soon found out that wasn’t good enough. Instead of receiving a sample ballot, she began receiving letters from the local registrar seeking proof she was a citizen. She sent a copy of her Arkansas driver’s license, but was told that wasn’t good enough. So she just gave up.
“It’s just irritating that they say you need to be a citizen, and you prove you’re a citizen and they say that’s not good enough because you don’t have an Arizona driver’s license,” Bartlett said. “It shouldn’t matter.”
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in June, ruling states can’t require people using the federal form to provide additional proof in addition to the sworn statement Congress required when it passed the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.
But Arizona and Kansas are resisting, and say they’ll set up separate ballots that only allow those who haven’t provided additional citizenship proof to vote in federal elections covered by the high court’s decision.