9th Circuit Strikes Down Part of Arizona’s Voter Registration Law

Today, the Ninth Circuit en banc ruled that the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) preempts part of Arizona’s Proposition 200 voter registration law.

The Arizona law required residents to show proof of citizenship – in the form of a state driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, tribal identification or naturalization-certification number – when registering to vote in both state and federal elections. The court found that NVRA establishes a national standard for federal registration that all states must accept. Under NVRA, voters must sign a statement that they are citizens, but they are not required to show proof of citizenship when registering. As such, the court struck down the portion of Proposition 200 that requires voters to show proof of citizenship to register for federal elections in Arizona.

However, the Ninth Circuit upheld Proposition 200’s proof of citizenship requirement for registering to vote in state elections. The court ruled that this proof of citizenship provision was not preempted by federal law.

The Arizona Republic reports that Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who argued the case on behalf of the state, has already indicated that the state will appeal the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. Horne commented, “[w]e always expected the U.S. Supreme Court to have to decide this one.”

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