WaPo Editorial: Arizona voter ID law should be overturned


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Washington Post has an editorial opinion this morning on Arizona's Prop. 200 voter registration case before the U.S. Supreme Court this morning. Arizona voter ID law should be overturned:

COMPARED WITH WHAT some Americans have to tolerate on Election Day,
registering to vote is relatively painless. That’s partly thanks to the National Voter Registration Act, a 1993 law at the root of a case the Supreme Court will hear on Monday. The state of Arizona argues that it should be allowed to subvert the law’s obvious purpose. The court shouldn’t let it.

In 1993, Congress looked at the “complicated maze” of often
confusing and sometimes discriminatory state election rules, and it
found that “unfair registration laws and procedures can have a direct
and damaging effect on voter participation in elections for federal
office.” So lawmakers established national standards. Americans could
register to vote when getting driver’s licenses, which gave the act its
unofficial name: the “motor voter” law. Congress also required every
state to accept a simple, common, mail-in registration form
drafted by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The record
indicates that Congress meant these to be among the “procedures that
will increase the number of eligible citizens who register to vote in
elections for federal office.”

In 2004, Arizona voters approved a state law requiring evidence
of U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote. As a result, state
elections officials no longer accepted standard federal registration
forms unless accompanied by copies of passports, birth certificates or
other proof of citizenship. Native American and Hispanic groups
complained, and now the dispute is before the high court.

argues that federal law doesn’t bar the state from adding to the
registration requirements listed on the federal form. It points out that
Congress acknowledged maintaining the integrity of federal elections as
another legitimate and important goal. Yet any reasonable reading of
lawmakers’ intent requires the conclusion that they did not want to
replace one confusing array of specific state requirements with another
confusing array of specific state requirements. In fact, Congress
rejected a provision that would have expressly permitted states to ask
for evidence of citizenship during registration. On the legal merits,
the justices shouldn’t have trouble siding against Arizona.

what of the policy principle? Non-citizens shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
But neither should citizens be discouraged from the exercise of their
most essential right — even citizens who don’t have identification
deemed suitable by Arizona. States should be instituting reforms to
expand access to the franchise, not narrow it. Universal voter
registration, in which the states take responsibility to register all
who are eligible, would be a good start

What I've been saying for years! But our Tea-Publican state legislature and Secretary of State Ken "Birther" Bennett have rejected the idea of universal voter registration, and are busy enacting laws to limit the rights of voters and to make voting more burdensome.