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Supreme Court says illegal to require voters to prove citizenship

Some residents here in Florida may be familiar with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.  For those who may not be familiar with this act, it was established to make registration and voting easier for all Americans.  But several states have challenged this federal law, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee, with another 12 other states contemplating similar actions.  These states are challenging the law by requiring voters to prove U.S. citizenship prior to voting--something the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to be unlawful this month.

The Supreme Court ruled recently that no state, including Florida, can require would-be voters to prove that they are U.S. citizens before using the federal registration system established by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.  The 7-2 decision was based on a case brought forward by the state of Arizona which argued that each state had the right to maintain its voter registry how it saw fit.  The majority of the Supreme Court disagreed.

According to those judge's who ruled against Arizona's 2004 law, which requires voters to show proof of citizenship prior to filling out the federal voter-registration form,  because the NVRA does not require such documentation, it trumps the state's law.  But despite a majority ruling, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented from their fellow judges, pointing out that the Constitution "authorizes states to determine the qualifications of voters in federal elections, which necessarily includes the related power to determine whether those qualifications are satisfied."

The Supreme Court's decision could be viewed as another huge push towards immigration reform, as undocumented immigrants are usually the targets of such restrictive laws in a majority of cases.

Source: Fox News, "Supreme Court: Arizona law requiring citizenship proof for voters is illegal," The Associated Press, June 17, 2013

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