State Capitol News
4:01 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Voter ID Law Upheld

A federal appeals court today upheld a voter-approved law which requires people to produce ID at the polls before casting a ballot. 

In a split decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments that mandating would-be voters show a driver's license or other identification unfairly discriminates against Hispanics. The court also brushed aside arguments that the requirement to provide identification, approved by voters in 2004, amounts to a poll tax. But the judges rejected arguments by the state that only people who provide proof of citizenship can register to vote. The judges pointed out that Congress directed a federal agency to come up with a single simple form to let people register by mail. And that form does not require any sort of citizenship proof. They said that means anyone using that form cannot be refused registration for failing to provide the documents. Attorney General Tom Horne disagreed, saying the state has a legitimate interest in limiting voting to citizens -- and the proof requirement is not intrusive.

"For over 90 percent of the people it means writing down what could be one number on a postcard," said Horne. "For less than 10 percent of the people it means copying another document and sending it in the mail. It's not a big burden. And considering the benefit to the system as a whole of preserving the integrity of the system, it's perfectly reasonable."

Horne vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court where he predicted he will win.