SCOTUS Sides with Landmark Voter Registration Law
Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in the case of Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., a lawsuit challenging 1993’s National Voter Registration Act. Project Vote Executive Director Michael Slater issued the following statement on the positive ruling:
“The NVRA was enacted in 1993 to make voter registration simpler and more accessible. As part of the effort to encourage voter registration and empower voter registration drives, the NVRA created a simple, uniform federal form with which all Americans could register to vote. Voter registration rates have markedly improved over the last 20 years, and most Americans now find registration to be a simple process.
In 2004, Arizona passed its controversial Proposition 200, requiring that people registering to vote with the federal registration form also submit documentary proof of citizenship. This new requirement stymied community based voter registration drives and created unreasonable hurdles for eligible Americans who wanted to register. Tens of thousands of voters were affected by this requirement, and voter registrations from eligible Americans were rejected.
Voting rights advocates, including Project Vote, filed suit arguing that this requirement violates the NVRA. Today, in a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court properly ruled that the NVRA preempts state rules regarding the voter registration form.
“[T]he Federal Form guarantees that a simple means of registering to vote in federal elections will be available,” wrote Justice Scalia in the majority opinion.
This decision is a strong affirmation of the NVRA, but also likely sets up further litigation about voter registration. Now is the time to do even more to draw on the provisions of the NVRA to promote participation in U.S. elections.
Project Vote will continue to fight against unnecessary hurdles to registration and voting. Project Vote is proud to have played a role in this important case upholding the NVRA, and we are gratified by this ruling that reaffirms the authority of this vital federal law.”
Photo by Mark Fischer/Creative Commons License