Arizona plans to require proof of citizenship to vote in statewide races, officials announced Monday, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that voters needn't show such documentation when registering to vote with a federal form.
In June, the court struck down an Arizona law requiring people registering to vote with federal forms to submit proof of citizenship. Currently, only about 5% of prospective voters register using federal forms; about 95% use state forms.
On the federal form, the applicant must swear under penalty of perjury that he or she is a citizen. But Arizona forms require proof of citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate.
Atty. Gen. Tom Horne announced the requirement, which is likely to be challenged in court. If successful, his decision would result in two separate voter rolls -- one listing those who could vote in all elections, the other with those who could vote only in federal races.
Horne issued a legal opinion Monday to Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett as guidance for future elections.
“Because Arizona law requires a registration applicant to provide evidence of citizenship, registrants who have not provided sufficient evidence of citizenship should not be permitted to vote in state and local elections unless such a dual registration system is invalid under the federal or state constitution,” Horne wrote in his opinion, addressed to Bennett.
Proponents of Arizona's 2004 law say it’s meant to deter voter fraud. Opponents say it’s a ploy to limit voting by immigrants and minorities.
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