State Capitol News
9:31 am
Thu October 24, 2013

State Argues Voter Registration Forms Should Add Provision To Prove Citizenship

Secretary of State Ken Bennett asked a judge yesterday to order a federal agency to modify its voter registration forms. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

A 2004 voter-approved law requires proof of citizenship to register. But, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Arizona had to accept registration forms designed by the federal Election Assistance Commission - forms that do not require such proof. Secretary Bennett had previously ordered a work-around: a dual voter registration system, one for those who can prove citizenship and can vote on all races, and a second for those without such proof who could vote only in federal contests. But, yesterday, the state argued the commission should be required to add a proof of citizenship provision.

In its June ruling, the Supreme Court did say Arizona can ask the commission to modify its forms. But, the commission has no active members. And the panel's executive director said she lacks the power to do that herself, leading to yesterday's request to order the commission to change the form.

Bennett is suing jointly with Kansas counterpart Kris Kobach whose state has a similar proof of citizenship law.