Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

October-14-13

Separate Federal and State Voting Rules Threaten to Disenfranchise Voters

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Arizona could not require individuals to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, passport, tribal identification, or naturalization documents, in order to register to vote in federal elections. In response, Arizona joined Kansas last week to set into motion a costly plan to create a separate voter registration system, with separate ballots, for state and local elections.

The creation of two separate voter registration systems could translate into thousands of disenfranchised voters. Ninety percent of the 31,000 voter registration applications that were denied after Arizona adopted Proposition 200, the initiative requiring proof of citizenship, belonged to U.S. citizens. Nationwide, as many as 13 million Americans do not have ready access to proof of their citizenship. Many racial minorities, students, elderly, and poor individuals do not have the types of government-issued identification documents being required by Arizona. In addition, as many as 34 percent of American women, who often change their names after marriage or divorce, do not have a government issued ID that reflects their current name. These documents can be costly and difficult to obtain.

Arizona Proposition 200 passed in 2004, requiring all individuals to provide proof of citizenship when they registered to vote in the state. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, however, that with respect to federal elections, the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which requires states to use a uniform federal voter registration form, controls, not the Arizona law. NVRA does not require documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote. The federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) creates federal voter registration forms. States can ask the EAC to approve state-specific instructions on the form, like proof of citizenship. Arizona had requested that the EAC approve its proof-of-citizenship requirement in 2005, but the EAC took no action on the request and Arizona did not challenge the EAC in federal court. In making its ruling, the Supreme Court indicated that Arizona could reapply to the EAC to approve its proof-of-citizenship requirement.

Both Arizona and Kansas are now suing the EAC to be able to amend their voter registration forms to require proof of citizenship for both state and federal elections.

Media Resources: The New York Times 10/11/13; The Wichita Eagle 10/4/13; Arizona Attorney General Press Release 10/7/13; The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law; The Supreme Court; Bloomberg 8/22/13


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

11/25/2014 Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal Responds to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision - The following is the statement of Eleanor Smeal, the Founder and President of the Feminist Majority Foundation: "The Feminist Majority Foundation is outraged at the decision not to indict Darren Wilson. This should have been a public trial. . . .
 
11/25/2014 Marissa Alexander Has Accepted a Plea Deal - Marissa Alexander, the woman imprisoned for firing a warning shot in the presence of her abusive husband, chose to accept a plea deal Monday with the state of Florida, pleading guilty to three felony counts of aggravated assault. As part of the plea deal, Alexander received three years imprisonment, but she will be credited for the time she's spent behind bars. . . .
 
11/24/2014 The City of Louisville Has Overwhelmingly Approved a CEDAW Resolution - The city of Louisville, Kentucky approved a resolution that will use the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a framework for all future policy aimed at ending gender-based discrimination. Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh introduced the resolution, which passed overwhelmingly on November 6. . . .