The battle over requiring voters to prove they are U.S. citizens has been intensely political over the last several years. But it is not one of right vs. wrong. It’s one of right vs. right. The goal of supporters is a sensible one, and so is the goal of opponents. The question is how to weigh each interest — not that the most partisan Democrats or Republicans have shown much inclination to do such calibrating in the name of fairness. Their interest is in gaining or protecting their political advantage. So let’s try to discuss this outside of political advantage. Kansas and Arizona passed laws aimed at making sure no non-citizen casts a ballot. They require prospective voters to show a birth certificate, passport or other document to prove they are citizens. In 2013, Arizona lost a decision in the Supreme Court, which said that it could not unilaterally impose a requirement for voter registration in addition to those imposed under federal law.
But the court gave states another way of getting what they want: asking the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to change the federal registration form by adding an explanation of the proof-of-citizenship rule for particular states. When Kansas and Arizona made that request, though, the commission refused. Now a federal district court has ruled that the federal government must grant the request.
In short, it will have to help the states enforce this requirement. So new voters in those places should expect to have to bring documents verifying their citizenship.
Full Article: Voting and proof of citizenship – chicagotribune.com.