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Supreme Court Takes on Arizona Voter Proof of Citizenship Case

By Andrew Lu on October 18, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to step in and take on the controversial Arizona voter ID law that would require voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in federal elections.

As you may know, Arizona has been a hotbed for immigration issues. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court upheld the state's law on immigration status checks by police, but struck down rules in the state's measure that would ban illegal immigrants from soliciting work in public places, reports Reuters.

Given that the state shares a border with Mexico and frequently deals with immigration issues that other states do not face, it is no surprise that Arizona has been on the forefront of so many immigration battles.

In 2004, Arizona voters passed a ballot initiative that would require voters to show proof of citizenship to register to vote, as well as identification to cast a ballot at the polls, reports Reuters. Such proof can consist of a driver's license number, naturalization papers, U.S. birth certificate, or passport.

Supporters of the law say that the evidence requirement is necessary to prevent people from fraudulently impersonating registered voters at the election booth, writes Reuters. However, opponents of the law say that it creates an obstacle for certain poor and minority voters.

While the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, the court will not hear the case before the November 6 federal elections. So the evidence requirement will not be in effect, and voters in federal elections can vote without having to show proof of citizenship. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had earlier struck down this part of the law.

In its appeal, the State of Arizona is arguing that states should have the authority to administer federal elections in the state. Basically, the state argues that the federal government should butt out on how the state wants to run its elections. The Supreme Court is only expected to rule on this federal/state issue, and is not expected to issue a ruling on whether the rule itself is discriminatory, reports Reuters.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on this case by the end of June 2013.

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