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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Supreme Court makes right call in Arizona voting law

    Arizona has taken dozen of steps to ensure that it remains as free of illegal immigrants as possible, its two biggest being the U.S.-Mexico border wall and Senate bill 1070.

    Then came the proof of citizenship law that the state was trying to pass. In late October 2012, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., sued the state, claiming that it broke a law regarding voting.

    Last week, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 against an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote using a form issued by the federal government. However, the state can request both a federal and state-issused registration form, which would require proof of citizenship, by driver’s license or passport. To try to explain it more simply, in 1993, Congress enacted the Motor Voter law which provided a unified voter registration form.

    Then in 2004, Arizona passed Proposition 200 that stated voting officials were required to reject registration forms that didn’t provide “concrete” proof of citizenship like a birth certificate or driver’s license. The question the Supreme Court faced was whether the requirements from Prop. 200 conflicted with the Motor Voter law.

    The idea behind the laws is to protect against voter fraud but what it’s doing is barring eligible citizens from voting, like the 18-24 demographic.

    “Today’s decision sends a strong message that states cannot block their citizens from registering to vote by superimposing burdensome paperwork requirements on top of federal law,” said Vice President of Litigation for the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Nina Perales, to various news outlets.

    This is about Arizona’s citizens getting the opportunity to voice their opinions at the polls, and possibly the citizens with the most to gain from the decision are Arizona’s youth, specifically on college campuses. Students on campus aren’t just walking around with all the necessary documents to prove that they are American citizens, so schools’ attempts to strengthen the youth vote will fall short. When the youth vote is lost or weakened, decisions that impact their future would be diminished. If the voting process becomes too bureaucratic there is the potential that young voters would become apathetic and not bother to vote in future elections.

    Proponents of the law claimed it would stop illegal immigrants from voting in U.S. elections but this, along with voter fraud, isn’t the problem. To bring in America’s immigration policy issues as a reason to change federal voting procedures is just dirty politics. Undocumented workers are not the group deciding federal elections and taking the vote away from American citizens is not how elections should be won. Voting is one of the most democratic processes a person can participate in and to take away that right, in the name of masking voter fraud is outrageous. The Supreme Court has taken a huge step in the right direction by realizing that Arizona was choosing inequality and segregation, practices that this country has worked hard to expel.

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