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Old 04-25-2016, 10:42 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Join Date: Jun 1999
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Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post

The National Voter Registration Act makes it illegal for states to actually require a person to prove they are a citizen in order to register. Theoretically, all 11+million illegal immigrants plus all legal aliens could go to a registrar's office tomorrow and pinkie-promise that they are citizens and be registered to vote.
Of course, "pinkie-promise" in this context means an affirmation, under penalty of perjury, a criminal offence.

Justice Scalia wrote the SCOTUS decision striking down Arizona's attempt to require a blanket additional proof of citizenship for all, finding that that state law was pre-empted by the National Voter Registration Act: Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council Of Arizona, Inc.

However, he also indicated that there were ways for Arizona to implement citizenship requirements for registration. For instance, the State can rely on information already in its own possession, as indicated in the syllabus to the decision:

Originally Posted by Syllabus
Nonetheless, while the NVRA forbids States to demand that an applicant submit additional information beyond that required by the Federal Form, it does not preclude States from “deny[ing] registration based on information in their possession establishing the applicant’s ineligibility.”
As well, he agreed that Arizona had the power to ensure that its voter registration requirements were met, and a federal law could not prevent that. Rather, the state and the Federal Elections Commission should work together to achieve that goal, rather than allowing Arizona to unilaterally add an additional requirement to that set out by the federal law. In case of a disagreement, Arizona would have to prove the need for the additional requirement:

Originally Posted by syllabus
It would raise serious constitutional doubts if a federal statute precluded a State from obtaining the information nec-essary to enforce its voter qualifications. The NVRA can be read to avoid such a conflict, however. Section 1973gg–7(b)(1) permits the EAC to include on the Federal Form information “necessary to enable the appropriate State election official to assess the eligibility of the applicant.” That validly conferred discretionary executive authority is properly exercised (as the Government has proposed) to require the inclusion of Arizona’s concrete-evidence requirement if such evidence is necessary to enable Arizona to enforce its citizenship qualification.

The NVRA permits a State to request the EAC to include state- specific instructions on the Federal Form, see 42 U. S. C. §1973gg– 7(a)(2), and a State may challenge the EAC’s rejection of that request (or failure to act on it) in a suit under the Administrative Procedure Act. That alternative means of enforcing its constitutional power to determine voting qualifications remains open to Arizona here. Should the EAC reject or decline to act on a renewed request, Arizona would have the opportunity to establish in a reviewing court that a mere oath will not suffice to effectuate its citizenship requirement and that the EAC is therefore under a nondiscretionary duty to include Arizona’s concrete-evidence requirement on the Federal Form.