Terry Marxen Chevrolet-Cadillac

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | GrandCanyonTourGuide.com
Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : features : latest news January 24, 2015


6/25/2013 10:23:00 AM
Bennett vows to push for voter proof of citizenship, despite court ruling
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said he was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s ruling, but vowed to continue to work to reinstate the state’s requirement that proof of citizenship accompany a voter registration form. Photo/Evan Bell
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said he was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s ruling, but vowed to continue to work to reinstate the state’s requirement that proof of citizenship accompany a voter registration form. Photo/Evan Bell
Evan Bell
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON - Voting and civil rights groups cheered a decision by the Supreme Court Monday that struck down an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship for voting.

The court's 7-2 ruling said Arizona's voter-approved Proposition 200, which required proof of citizenship for voter registration, was trumped by the federal "motor voter" law that only requires a potential voter to swear to their citizenship.

Justice Samuel Alito, in one of two dissenting opinions, said the court's ruling "seriously undermines" the state's interest in preserving the integrity of elections.

And Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said late Monday that the state is not about to give up the fight, saying the state would pursue appeals with the Election Assistance Commission and the courts.

But Proposition 200 opponents think it is too late for the state, now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the case.

"We don't think it's going to be successful," said Nina Perales, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, of Bennett's plan.

In a conference call after Monday's ruling, League of Women Voters spokeswoman Elisabeth MacNamara said simply: "State restrictions lost. Voters won."

The case, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, stems from challenges to Proposition 200, which was approved by voters in 2004. Opponents argued that the additional requirements to show proof of citizenship for mail-in voter registration forms exceeded federal registration law.

The federal form only asks voters to pledge that they are citizens and sign a form attesting to that.

The Supreme Court agreed with a lower court that the federal form created by the National Voter Registration Act - also known as the "motor voter" law - trumps the state form for federal elections, making Arizona's extra requirements invalid.

"We and fellow plaintiffs won an eight-year battle to protect the most basic right (to vote) necessary for a government of, by and for the people," Sam Wercinski, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network, said in a statement.

In his opinion for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that that the "fairest reading" of the motor voter law is that a "state-imposed requirement of evidence of citizenship not required by the federal form is 'inconsistent with' the NVRA's mandate that states 'accept and use' the federal form."

But the court also said that Arizona can ask the federal Election Assistance Commission to include state-specific instructions on the federal form - in this case, proof of citizenship. If that request is rejected, the state could then go back to court to challenge that decision, Scalia wrote.

The commission deadlocked on such a request from the state in 2005, but Bennett said the state will try again.

"We plan to renew our request of the Election Assistance Commission to include information necessary to determine eligibility on the federal form as suggested by Justice Scalia," Bennett said in a statement. "If the commission once again refuses, we plan to pursue further litigation under the Administrative Procedure Act to include this information to determine eligibility."

But dissenting justices Alito and Clarence Thomas noted that the EAC is a "shell," with no sitting commissioners and none on the horizon.

They both argued that the majority gave too much weight to the Elections Clause provision that lets Congress pre-empt state law on the "times, places, and manners" of federal elections. They also said that Arizona does "accept and use" the federal registration form, as required, but that does not mean the state can't ask for additional documentation.

The NVRA "permits Arizona to require applicants for federal voter registration to provide proof of eligibility," Alito wrote.

Bennett said the state should be allowed that authority.

"Election integrity starts with voter registration," his statement said. "We strongly believe citizenship is the foundation from which eligibility is derived and we will continue to look for ways to ensure only eligible citizens are casting ballots in our elections."

But an official with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona said it is important to provide voting access.

"Overall, I think it is a very good decision," said John Lewis, the ITCA executive director. "It provides opportunities and protections for tribes members to have access to voting."


    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Mapmaker continues quest to document indigenous cultures
New documentary focuses on Native American veterans on Navajo Nation
Letter to the editor: Where do children learn to speak fluent Navajo?
Delegate Edmund Yazzie continues work for Thoreau, N.M. clinic
Pirates of the Navajo Nation under attack


Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Article comment by: WRONG JOB

Perhaps Mr. Bennett should be running not for Governor but for Chairman of some yet-to-be created superbody that has the power to override or ignore findings of the U.S. Supreme Court.



Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: Shelley Hemphill

I was very touched and inspired that there is "Hope" for justice by our Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett. I wanted to Thank Him for being a voice of True Justice for the people, that in a majority of similar cases would turn the eyes and shut off their ears and send you on your way home without receiving justice that they are entitled! At this moment, literally, my husband and i are being and example of a crippled and devastating reality of heinous crimes that are being committed, seriously, in front of every person, including our own Judicial System Judge! When injustice is being committed in the very room that we are to believe in and to trust in is ever so clear that we realize with great despair that from our case in our defense from this moment on was going to be a pray through win situation with only God being our only hope among all sitting in this tiny court cubical. So with that being said I so do pray with all my heart that Mr. Bennett gets my comment and allows me to share the story of our case in great detail and praying he will call a hurting mother and a father desiring to have a time with his daughter(age 14). Mr Bennett please call us if you get this message, We believe that you may be able to help us please!!! Thank you and God Bless
Shelley Hemphill




Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Flagstaff, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Submission links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

Find It Opinions Features Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
Terry Marxen Chevrolet-Cadillac

© Copyright 2015 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Navajo-Hopi Observer is the information source for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and Winslow area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, nhonews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved