Supreme Court Strikes Down Arizona Law Requiring Voter Registration Applicants to Prove Citizenship

June 17, 2013

In a 7-2 ruling and a major victory for voting rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona law that required people attempting to register to vote in the state to provide proof of citizenship. The court ruled the additional requirement, not required under federal law, was an overreach by the state. States cannot add extra voter requirements that go beyond federal law. The 1993 "motor voter" law was passed in order to simplify voter registration and only requires that potential voters state that they are citizens, under penalty of perjury, but doesn't require additional proof of citizenship. The majority opinion was written by Antonin Scalia, who said that federal law "forbids states to demand that an applicant submit additional information beyond that required by the federal form." The dissenting votes were from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. 

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