The state of Arizona passed Proposition 200 by popular referendum. Proposition 200 requires that a person must present proof of citizenship when registering to vote and a voter must present identification when casting a ballot. Multiple parties sued the state of Arizona, arguing that Congress had preempted the states in this area of election law with the National Voter Registration Act. While the Ninth Circuit ruled that the National Voter Registration Act superseded the registration requirement, the court also held that the identification requirement at a polling place is legal. Arizona is now appealing the registration requirement to the Supreme Court, arguing that this falls within their powers and the lower courts are taking a broader view of preemption that is not in line with the past rulings of the Supreme Court. The outcome of this case will play a large role in the ability of the states to pass laws governing voter registration, and the Court’s evaluation of preemption will likely have a large effect on the balance of power between the states and federal government.
Did the court of appeals err 1) in creating a new, heightened preemption test under Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution ("the Elections Clause") that is contrary to this Court's authority and conflicts with other circuit court decisions, and 2) in holding that under that test the National Voter Registration Act preempts an Arizona law that requests persons who are registering to vote to show evidence that they are eligible to vote?
Does the National Voter Registration Act preempt state law to the level that lower courts should afford Congress greater deference under the Elections Clause?
- Justices to Review Voter Law in Arizona, Adam Liptak, New York Times (Oct. 15, 2012).
- Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. ACLU (Jan. 31, 2013).
- Voter Proof-of-Citizenship Law Gets Supreme Court Review, Greg Stohr, Bloomberg (Oct. 15, 2012).