In an effort to prevent voter registration from being “burdensome”, (
especially for non-citizens that wish to chime in) the Supreme Court has ruled that people don’t have to prove their citizenship to be eligible to vote.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states cannot on their own require would-be voters to prove they are U.S. citizens before using a federal registration system designed to make signing up easier.
The justices voted 7-2 to throw out Arizona’s voter-approved requirement that prospective voters document their U.S. citizenship in order to use a registration form produced under the federal “Motor Voter” voter registration law.
Federal law “precludes Arizona from requiring a federal form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself,” Justice Antonia Scalia wrote for the court’s majority. (source)
All a prospective voter has to do in order to register is to sign a form saying that they are an American citizen. Then they are officially eligible to vote. No proof is required because, according to some, that might make it too difficult for people to register to vote, particularly minorities.
Nina Perales, vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, led the charge to the Supreme Court. “Today’s decision sends a strong message that states cannot block their citizens from registering to vote by superimposing burdensome paperwork requirements on top of federal law.”
The argument began in Arizona, where illegal immigration is a hot-button issue. Officials in the state had passed a law requiring proof of citizenship and identification, such as an Arizona driver’s license issued after 1996, a U.S. birth certificate, a passport or other similar document, before voting. Adversaries disagreed, stating that the law unfairly targeted groups like minorities, immigrants and the elderly:
Opponents of Arizona’s law see it as an attack on vulnerable voter groups such as minorities, immigrants and the elderly. They say they’ve counted more than 31,000 potentially legal voters in Arizona who easily could have registered before Proposition 200 but were blocked initially by the law in the 20 months after it passed in 2004. They say about 20 percent of those thwarted were Latino.
Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, called the decision a victory. “The court has reaffirmed the essential American right to register to vote for federal election without the burdens of state voter suppression measures,” she said. (source)
The laws in this country say that you have to be an American citizen in order to vote. Apparently, all you need to prove that you are a citizen is your word. You need identification to borrow money, to cash a check, to buy cigarettes or alcohol, and to send your child to school. You have to prove who you are to drive a car, travel outside the country, or to use your credit card. But to cast your vote on matters of national importance, they’ll just take your word for it that you are who you say you are.
The voting system was already limping along, injured from accusations of fraudulent elections, media influence, and vote-fixing. Now, it is well and truly crippled. The right to vote in America means absolutely nothing.
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