The Supreme Court decided Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, where the Supreme Court ruled that federal law preempted Arizona’s law. In other words, it held that Arizona’s requirement of proof of citizenship was in conflict with the National Voter Registration Act. Thereby, that requirement was rejected.
Arizona’s law required registered voters to show proof of citizenship. Under Arizona’s law, a person must be a citizen to be eligible to vote. This case concerned only how Arizona was trying to enforce that qualification. In 2004, Arizona voters passed Proposition 200, which provided that voters must “present proof of citizenship when they register to vote and to present identification when they vote on election day.” If an individual does not provide “satisfactory” proof of citizenship, then the application must be rejected.
The issue here is how this citizenship-proof law and the National Voting Registration Act work together. The Voter Registration Act required that states must “accept and use” the Federal Form. The Voter Registration Act provided that a state shall “ensure that any eligible applicant is registered to vote in an election… if the valid voter registration form of the applicant is post-marked.” (italics in original).
Although the Voter Registration Act provides that states can create their own state-specific voter-registration forms, the Voting Registration Act also places a backstop. The Supreme Court explained that,
No matter what procedural hurdles a State’s own form imposes, the Federal Form guarantees that a simple means of registering to vote in federal elections will be available.
Based on this language, the Supreme Court rejected Arizona’s arguments. If Arizona, or any other state, could demand Federal Form applicants additional pieces of information, “the Federal Form ceases to perform any meaningful function, and would be a feeble means of ‘increas[ing] the number of eligible citizens who register to vote in elections for Federal Office.” (quotations and marks in original).
If you read my Minnesota Lawyer – JD Rising article, accessed here, you will know that there are a lot of voting problems that affect voters.
The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a major new study which shoes that the flaws in the American election system are deep and widespread. You can see the results via an interactive tool here. The full brief can be accessed here.
The Pew Charitable Trusts ranked 50 states on 17 indicators, including but not limited to wait times, lost votes, problems with absentee and provisional ballots. The study is based on data from the 2008 and 2010 elections.
The problematic findings are as follows.
- Some states lost very few votes thanks to shortcomings in voting technology and voter confusion. The best reporting failure rates was of 0.5% or less in 2008. West Virginia’s rate was 3.2%.
- Voter registration rejections varied. North Dakota does not require voter registration, and Alabama and Kansas reported rejecting less than 0.05% of the applications in 2008. Pennsylvania and Indiana each rejected more than half of the registration applications.
- Arizona and California had the highest rates of problems with voter registration and absentee ballots. In 2010, California rejected 0.7% absentee ballots, a higher rate than any other state.
- In Colorado, where 70% of the voters cast ballots by mail in 2012, rejected 0.4% of ballots in 2010.
- Nationwide, a bit over 1% of voters are given a provisional ballot. In Arizona, the rate in 2008 was of 6.5%. In Ohio, it was 3.6%.
Some of the other findings state:
- In 2008, the 10 states with the shortest times had waits on average of fewer than 6 minutes. South Carolina had the longest wait times of just over an hour. Georgia had more than 37 minutes.
- Only 8 States provided all possible voter lookup tools (Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin). Only 2 States had no information at all (California and Vermont).
- Six of the 10 states with the lowest rates of nonvoting due to registration problems (Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Wisconsin) have allowed Election Day registration for at least two decades. North Dakota does not require voter registration.
- The high performers are: Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.
- The low performers are: Alabama, California, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
via U.S. Voting Flaws Are Widespread, Study Shows – NYTimes.com.