Law Office of Tim Powers
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether
Arizona may require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote
in federal elections. The federal appeals court in San Francisco had blocked
the state law, saying it conflicted with a federal one.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case early next year, and
the law will remain suspended in the meantime.
The state law requires prospective voters to prove they are citizens by
providing copies of or information concerning various documents, including
birth certificates, passports, naturalization papers or Arizona drivers
licenses, which are available only to people lawfully present in the state.
The federal law, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, allows voters
to register using a federal form that asks, "Are you a citizen of
the United States?" Prospective voters must check a box for yes or
no, and they must sign the form, swearing they are citizens under penalty
The question for the justices is whether the state was entitled to supplement
those federal requirements with its own. A divided 10-judge panel of the
appeals court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, ruled that
the two sets of requirements "do not operate harmoniously" and
"are seriously out of tune with each other in several ways."
The federal law requires state officials to "accept and use"
the federal form, Judge Sandra Ikuta wrote for an eight-judge majority,
while the additional requirements sometimes make that impossible. The
requirements were also at odds with the federal law's attempt to streamline
the registration process, she wrote.
In a concurrence, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said he found the case "difficult
and perplexing," largely because the Supreme Court has not set out
principles for how to reconcile federal and state responsibilities for
conducting federal elections.
In urging the Supreme Court to hear the case, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council
of Arizona, No.12-71, state officials said the federal form, the state
wrote, amounts to an inadequate "honor system."
If you are seeking aggressive criminal representation by an experienced
criminal defense attorney for your Denton County criminal case or arrest
in Denton County, contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There is no
charge or obligation for the initial consultation. 940.580.2899.
*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court
of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For
legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult