The case went up and down in the courts, with injunctions preventing portions of Prop 200 from taking effect. While the courts upheld Prop 200’s photo ID voting requirements, a major portion of its voter registration/proof of citizenship rule finally was struck down in October 2010 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a lengthy and considered examination of various federal laws and constitutional provisions addressing voter registration. In a 2-1 decision joined by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (herself a former Arizona state legislator), the Ninth Circuit invalidated a requirement that Arizonans registering to vote by using the Federal Voter Registration Form must present proof of citizenship beyond swearing, under penalty of perjury (a federal crime), that they are U.S. citizens. The court relied on the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which requires state deference to Congressional enactments, such as requirements for the Federal Voter Registration Form. Arizona sought to require additional documentary proof of citizenship. The State appealed to the full Ninth Circuit, which reaffirmed the panel decision.
The state appealed once again and convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case. AARP Foundation Litigation attorneys continue to co-represent the plaintiffs.
What’s at Stake
AARP Foundation Litigation is working to ensure that all eligible voters can freely exercise their constitutional right to participate in the democratic process.
Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona is before the U.S. Supreme Court. A decision is expected by the end of June 2013.