Positive Step for Secretary Bennett’s Planned Defense of Citizenship

Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to grant a rehearing on Gonzalez v. Arizona before the entire membership of the court, (en banc) comes as great news to many, including Secretary of State Ken Bennett who promised to defend Arizona’s Proposition 200 all the way to the Supreme Court.

Proposition 200, when passed by Arizona voters in 2004, required that voter registration applicants provide documentary proof of citizenship. In addition it required that voters provide proof of identity at the polls on Election Day.

Today’s decision to grant the petition for a rehearing en banc by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is encouraging. Arizonans obviously believe that people should provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote and we are pleased that the court may reconsider its decision.

Last October, the 9th Circuit in San Francisco struck down Arizona’s requirement that residents provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. Proposition 200 was passed by Arizona voters in 2004 and helps make sure that only eligible people vote in elections. The Court ruled that a federal voter-registration law supersedes Arizona’s requirement.

What seems like common sense to most of us, others feel is a burdensome requirement. The previous decision by the 9th Circuit was an outrage, and I thought was a slap in the face to Arizonans who are concerned about the integrity of our elections. There isn’t a corner of this state where people are not concerned with voter fraud and opposition to the simple act of providing proof that you are legally eligible to participate in our elections is incomprehensible.

Those registering to vote in Arizona are required to provide one of the following documents: a driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, tribal identification or naturalization certification number. Voters seeking to register online must provide a driver’s license number, which is verified through Arizona’s motor vehicle system.

Not expecting either side to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court is like not expecting hot summer days in Phoenix. Today’s decision is just another step along that path and we’re prepared to fight for Arizona’s right to fair and fraud free elections.

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