by James Adam
Arizona law requires individuals to present documents proving U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote. Acceptable proof includes a photocopied birth certificate, photocopied pages of a passport, U.S. naturalization papers or Alien Registration Number, an Indian Census number, Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, Tribal Treaty Card/Enrollment Number, or a photocopy of one’s Tribal Certificate of Indian Blood or Tribal/Bureau of Indian Affairs Affidavit of Birth. Any change of residence between Arizona counties requires subsequent proof of U.S. citizenship.
In April, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco struck down this Arizona law. The court declared that federal voting laws requiring only that the applicant sign their name to verify US citizenship supersedes local election law. In June, the Supreme Court overturned a stay of the decision, and Arizona was unable to require proof of citizenship for registration in the November 2012 election cycle. However, the state can still urge voters to fill out Arizona registration ballots requiring this proof, but they may not bar an individual from simply registering by merely swearing their citizenship under the federal form. Also at the time of this decision, the Ninth Circuit upheld Arizona’s photo identification requirement. The Supreme Court will hear the citizenship arguments early next year. Continue reading