ETX elections administrator weighs in on Supreme Court ruling

Published: Jun. 17, 2013 at 10:36 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2013 at 10:38 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - The Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law today that required proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Supporters of the law said it help prevent voter fraud, but opponents argued that it disenfranchised minority and immigrant voters.

The law, known as proposition 200, has been in place since 2004. The ruling said Arizona cannot require voters registering to provide additional information that what is already required on the federal form. For federal registration, voters only need to sign a statement, swearing they are U.S. citizens.

The Arizona law went a step further, stating that they would reject any registration form that did not include proof of citizenship such as a driver's license, passport or birth certificate. Federal courts struck down a similar law just last year in Texas, requiring voters to show photo identification before casting their ballots. Texas asks for, but does not require proof of citizenship on its' voter registration form.

"If they do not have a driver's license number, they'll need to provide the last 4 digits of their social," said Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson. "If they do not have either one of those, there's a box that they have to check, which says to us that says they do not have either one of those IDs."

However, Texas voters registering without ID will still have to prove citizenship when they go to vote.

"When that voter comes to vote for the first time, they will have to show a form of ID at the poll location," Nelson said. "It may not be a picture ID or their social security card, but there is a list of several things that they could use like their utility bill with name or address. But, they will have to show they are that person."

While the Supreme Court struck down Arizona's law, it did leave the option open for the state to make an appeal to the Federal Election Assistance Commission, petitioning that they require additional proof of citizenship on the federal form.

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