Arizona’s good-sense effort to assure voters are indeed U.S. citizens is again in limbo as elections approach.
A federal judge in March approved plans in both Arizona and Kansas to require voter registrants to show proof of citizenship. In late May, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay, saying there wasn’t evidence that non-citizen voting was a problem.
Arizona wants its requirement for citizenship proof built into the federal voting document which now only requires registrants to affirm they are citizens. As an alternative, it has a cumbersome two-tier system in place that allows voters without citizenship proof to vote for federal offices in elections but not state offices.
The appeals court should address this topic quickly so it can be settled before the elections. The Arizona primary is in late August. Kansas has a primary the first week in August.
Voting is both a basic and a cherished right extended to citizens in this country. Through the years, laws have evolved to make sure every citizen can vote. Yet there is no real barrier in place to assure the right is extended only to citizens.
Is voter fraud by non-citizens a problem? Hard to say, since no citizenship proof is required to vote. The real answer, not surprisingly, swirls in the waters of partisan politics. Republicans suspect, but can’t prove, that Democrats are encouraging voting by non-citizens. Democrats apparently have a problem keeping track of their documents.
In our view, the simple test for voting is citizenship. It’s reasonable to insist on evidence beyond a checked box to exercise that right. It shouldn’t be a big deal. People are used to proving their identity and residency for all sorts of government and business transactions.
They should feel pride in doing so to vote.
— Today’s News-Herald