A federal judge ruled on a case brought by Kansas and Arizona. The two states want the federal government to let them make would-be voters prove they are citizens. This means coming up with a birth certificate or a passport. A driver’s license won’t do.
Last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could require voters to prove citizenship.
The case was about whether the federal government would modify their form to meet the registration rules of the state. The judge said yes, they must.
But only for state and local elections.
The rules for federal elections are different. Voters only have to “attest” that they are citizens. They can do this by showing a driver’s license.
So far only Kansas and Arizona will make the change. Advocates say the new rule will spread like wildfire to other states. Alabama and Georgia are already interested. Republicans are seen as wanting to make voting more difficult for some groups such as immigrants and lower-income people.
For example, the Arizona attorney general said, “This decision is an important victory against the Obama administration. It ensures that only U.S. citizens and not illegals vote in Arizona elections.”
Democrats want to make voting easier. Experts say there is little proof of voter fraud. And they add the poor and minorities often do not have passports or birth certificates.
Remember, this affects votes for governors and legislators. It does not affect elections for congressmen, senators or the president.
No decision on whether to appeal the ruling has been made. However, appeal is likely.
Source: The Arizona Republic March 20, 2014