Supreme Court to Weigh Arizona’s Voter-ID Law
Arizona’s law aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from registering to vote — which critics say disadvantages the young, elderly, minorities and naturalized citizens — goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.
The case, which has wound through the courts for years, is the second election-law case recently before the high court that Arizona has a stake in. Alabama’s challenge last month to the landmark Voting Rights Act, which could free Arizona and other states from scrutiny by the Department of Justice over potential racial discrimination in elections procedures, drew more national attention.
But experts and parties to the lawsuit say the case over Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registrations too could set precedent in how elections are conducted across the country.
The case spotlights the tension between protecting election integrity — which Arizona argues its law does by requiring citizenship documents to register to vote — and encouraging wider voter registration — which Congress sought to do with a simple, nationwide voter-registration form that requires only a signature under penalty of perjury to confirm citizenship.
“This is about a state imposing restrictions that make voter registration more difficult. Whether it’s justified or not, it puts an additional hurdle in the way of the process,” said Justin Levitt, an elections-law professor at Yale and Loyola law schools. “This case is about how smooth voter registration can be.”