Part of Arizona's 2004 Proposition 200 law requires citizens to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. Because voting is a right enjoyed by eligible citizens only, it makes sense to ensure that voters are who they say they are.
But, Proposition 200 recently came under legal attack in the federal courts. In this challenge, plaintiffs argued that the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) precluded Arizona from enacting its own voter certification requirements. The federal court disagreed and ruled that nothing in the NVRA prevents states from determining voter qualifications. The court said the federal rules set minimum, not maximum, requirements and states like Arizona are permitted to do more to regulate their elections.
This ruling correctly affirms the right of states to secure the integrity of their elections. From hanging chads to touch-screen voting machines, there are many things that can go wrong in elections, making sure only eligible voters cast ballots shouldn't be one of them.
Benjamin Barr is a constitutional policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Studies.
-Moritz College of Law: Gonzalez v. Arizona litigation documents
-Arizona Secretary of State: Proposition 200
-Evergreen Freedom Foundation: "Best Practices on Election Reform"
-John Fund: "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy"