The state can continue to demand proof of citizenship before registering voters -- at least for the time being.
A federal appeals court earlier this year voided a requirement in a 2004 voter-approved initiative which requires people to produce proof of citizenship before being allowed to register to vote. The court said that runs afoul of a federal law which requires states to accept a special federally designed voter registration form which does not have such a requirement. That court order was set to take effect today. But U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Thursday stayed that order, saying he wants time to review the state's contention that the appellate ruling could lead to fraud. Attorney General Tom Horne acknowledged few people use that federal form -- at least not now.
"People who don't want to give evidence of citizenship will just use the federal form," Horne said. "That would all change. The federal form would become the gateway to illegals voting."
Horne said it's not just a question of people purposely breaking the law. He claimed some groups dupe those who are legal residents but not citizens into registering.
"And the tragedy is when they're caught, they can't become citizens because they've committed voter fraud," he added.
Kennedy said he wants legal papers from both sides this coming week before deciding what to do next.