May state officials require individuals to show proof of citizenship before they can register to vote in federal elections?
Arizona has a state law requiring such verification, but a federal appeals court in San Francisco denied it on grounds that it conflicted with a federal law.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case a good decision.
The Arizona state law requires prospective voters to show documents that prove their American citizenship. Yet the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993 allows people to register using a federal form that asks if the applicant is a citizen. Failure to provide accurate information invites perjury charges.
Are states entitled to add their own requirements to the federal law? The appeals court found the two layers of rules seriously out of tune with each other in several ways.
A Supreme Court decision could resolve how to reconcile federal and state duties for holding federal elections.
Arizona state officials found the federal form to be an inadequate honor system, the New York Times reported.
The lower court wrote that the federal law requires states to accept and use the federal form. Adding state requirements conflicts with the federal intent and slows the registration process, the appeals court decided.
It would seem that one set of requirements is preferable and constitutional. But that is the Supreme Courts call.
Arizonas law will be suspended until the high court rules. Thus, it will not apply this election.