Protecting the integrity of elections
Today is the day that Arizona’s argument supporting voter integrity will be heard, as Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne takes the case State of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona before the justices of the United States Supreme Court at 10 a.m. He will be allotted thirty minutes to make his presentation.
As a review: In 2004, Arizona voters passed — by an overwhelming vote of 1,041,741 – 830,467 — the Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, on the ballot as Proposition 200 — a commonsense measure intended to prevent non-citizens from illegally voting in elections. On the heels of its passage, a lawsuit challenging the law was filed by liberal activist groups.
After Arizona citizens passed the referendum, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the first part of the referendum was pre-empted by Federal law. This ruling came in tandem with an intentionally misleading brief from the Civil Rights Division of Eric Holder’s Justice Department. Hans A. von Spakovsky writing for National Review provides excellent background.
Sandra O’Connor — the left-of-center “cowgirl from Arizona,” who duped conservative Ronald Reagan in 1981 when he appointed her to the U.S. Supreme Court — sat on the Ninth Circuit panel that gutted the law.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne requested an “en banc rehearing” of the matter, in which an 11-judge panel reconsiders the ruling issued by the three-judge panel. He personally argued the case. The Court ruled that requiring voter I.D. on Election Day is permissible, but that Arizona could not ask for evidence of citizenship when people register to vote. Instead, the Court ruled that Arizona would have to trust the signature on the form affirming they are citizens.
This March 4, 2013 commentary by Attorney General Tom Horne was originally printed as a “My Turn“ piece in the daily. Titled “Preclearance of voting laws now irrational,” it provides key information regarding the Arizona’s voting rights issue.
Yesterday, that same newspaper ran “High court should help Arizona protect elections,” by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett — whose office oversees elections — in which he writes, “…citizenship is the foundation from which eligibility is derived. Proposition 200 protects election integrity by ensuring voter eligibility. Requiring evidence of citizenship at the time of registration is an important safeguard against non-citizen voter fraud. Otherwise, the only protection would be the applicant’s sworn statement that they are a citizen. Do we believe that someone who would falsely claim citizenship on the federal voter-registration form would also commit voter fraud in an election? Is that fair to the voters who legally cast a ballot? Don’t they have a right to a fair and fraud-free election?
Our political process depends on a system of elections that empowers citizens with the ability to exercise their most fundamental of rights: the right to vote. It is the role of government to provide voters with a sense of confidence in the voting system.”
Secretary of State Bennett is correct. Godspeed Attorney General Horne. Arizona’s citizens are fortune to have these two principled men serving in state office.