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Monday, June 17, 2013

Supreme Court Finally Agrees - Proof of Citizenship not Required for Voter Registration

Arizona citizens voted to require proof of citizenship for voter registration, in spite of decades of voting without such evidence being required. Now the Supreme Count has, rightly, stricken down this requirement.

Let's be realistic, Arizona voters have gone to the polls without proof of citizenship, ever since 1912, when it become a state.  Meanwhile, Arizona has always had a growing number of residents and citizens who originally came from Mexico or Latin America.  What's different now is partisan politics.   

A recent law approved by Arizona's voters was intended to curtail newly immigrated Democratic voters (many were Hispanic), by intimidating them into not registering.  

Washington (CNN) -- The Supreme Court on Monday tossed out a provision in Arizona's voter registration law that required proof of citizenship. In a 7-2 majority ruling, the Supreme Court said the state's voter-approved Proposition 200 interfered with federal law designed to make voter registration easier.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a year ago, blocked the Arizona law from being enforced, while the high court decided internally whether to accept pending appeals for review. The ballot measure was passed in 2004 and has been lingering in the federal courts ever since.

In the election 2000, the Supreme Court created controversy and skepticism with the ludicrous Gore vs Bush ruling, by ignoring the popular vote and ruling to stop the ballot counting in Florida. Vice-President Gore won the popular vote in 2000, but lost the election, because Florida ballots were unable to be counted and the electoral vote was tipped for a Bush win.  

Yet, voters rights were supported in today's court ruling, demonstrating an intention to protect the fundamental DNA of democracy - the voter's right to vote.  

In fact, the Motor Voter Law, (National Voter Registration Act of 1993) that enables prospective voters to register when they obtain or renew a driver's license, will stand, at least for the foreseeable future.  Cumbersome obstructions, meant to intimidate prospective minority voters, can be monitored by voting rights activists while the Democrats can begin to register new voters.

Monday's Supreme Court ruling, striking parts of Arizona's onerous voter law, is a triumph for democracy- which is fundamentally about the right to vote.  

Strategically, Democrats might experience a breath of new political oxygen when the growing number of immigrant citizens are registered as party supporters. After all, Republicans are clearly not demonstrating support for new citizens voting rights. Therefore,  why would any new citizen want to register with a political party that doesn't support the voting rights?

Immigrants are clearly the new face of America. Nevertheless, Republicans don't want the nation's changing demographics to become voting Democrats.  Incredulously, the Republicans aren't helping to change the minds of the people who are politically victimized by proposed repressive voting laws.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) gets a broken clock ie, right twice a day, award, when he said, on the June 16th Sunday talk shows:  Republicans are in a demographic death spiral, unless the party supports immigration reform.  In my mind, immigration reform must  allow for a path to citizenship for legal immigrants, and thereby, allow voter registration, without intimidating processes to demonstrate citizenship.

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