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Supreme Court: No, you can't ask for proof of citizenship for voter registration

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 18th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against Arizona, striking down a law that required voters in federal elections to show proof of citizenship before voting. Liberals say it is a victory for Native Americans and Latinos.

PHOENIX, AZ (Catholic Online) - The Supreme Court has voted 7-2 to strike down an Arizona law that required proof of citizenship before voting. Historically conservative Justice, Antonin Scalia explained n his opinion that the 2004 state law was overridden by the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

Native Americans and Latinos heavily opposed the state law saying it deterred people without proper paperwork from registering to vote.

Which was sort-of the point.

Conservative concerns are that in states with large populations of illegal immigrants, that those populations could be organized to vote despite having no legal right to do so. By requiring basic documentation for registration, such fraud is deterred.

However, opponents of the law say there is no evidence that such a thing is happening and that legal citizens who have the right to vote are being discouraged.

The Supreme Court ruled that the 1993 National Voter Registration Act trumps the state law and outlines the registration guidelines to be followed. Federal law requires a driver's license or a passport, but no actual proof of citizenship is required under existing law. The Arizona law would have changed this.

Much of the concern stems from the growing Latino vote in the U.S. particularly in the southwestern states. As the Latino population grows, that segment is already the majority in many areas and is projected to become the overall majority over the next few decades. This is causing both parties, Republican and Democrat, to shift their strategy. The vast majority of these people are legal citizens and naturally enjoy the right to vote. Only a slim minority, are here illegally despite political perception.

About 13 million people are believed to reside in the United States illegally.

Democrats have embraced this population, while Republicans have clung to traditional strategies. Following the loss of the 2011 presidential elections, Republicans have since conceded they need to do more to connect with Latino voters, who were a major swing group in the last election.

Many Latinos would be natural Republicans, given their historically traditional beliefs and emphasis on traditional family values. However, domestic policies in the U.S. and a strategy of engagement by the left has many opting to support Democrats.

Scalia did suggest that Arizona could challenge the current loophole in the federal registration guidelines in a separate legal motion. He suggested the state could take the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to task to change federal registration procedures. "That alternative means of enforcing its constitutional power to determine voting qualifications remains open to Arizona here," he wrote.

The decision also affects other states which have similar laws, specifically Georgia, Alabama, and Kansas. Other states will now pause before passing similar laws.

Justices Thomas and Alito dissented from the majority and said that states, not the federal government, have the right to decide voter registration requirements.

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