Supreme Court Should Uphold Decision Striking Down Arizona Voting Law

January 23, 2013

Brennan Center and Constitutional Accountability Center File Amicus Brief in Key Supreme Court Case

Contact: Brennan Center (Erik Opsal, erik.opsal@nyu.edu, 646-292-8356);
Constitutional Accountability Center (Doug Pennington, pennington@theusconstitution.org, 202-296-6889x303)

Washington, D.C. – The Supreme Court should strike down an Arizona law requiring additional documents to register to vote, argue the Brennan Center and the Constitutional Accountability Center in an amicus brief.

The brief, submitted yesterday in State of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, urges the Court to affirm the Ninth Circuit’s decision to overturn the Arizona law, since the Elections Clause in the Constitution gives Congress the power to override state law to protect the right to vote.

“Arizona’s law would block eligible Americans from voting and deny them the opportunity to participate equally in our democracy,” said Myrna PĂ©rez, senior counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Congress passed national voter registration standards to keep our elections free, fair, and accessible to all. The lower court recognized that goal and rightfully struck down this law. By upholding that decision, the Supreme Court will ensure every eligible citizen can make their voice heard at the ballot box.”

The case tests the legality of an Arizona law mandating additional documents when registering to vote. At least 7 percent of voting-age Americans do not have such documentation readily available, according to Brennan Center research.

“The Constitution’s text and history could not be more clear,” said David Gans, Civil Rights Director of Constitutional Accountability Center. “The Elections Clause gives Congress the power to ‘make or alter’ state law in order to protect the right to vote in federal elections. When Congress acts under the Elections Clause, the very point is to displace state laws, such as the effort of Arizona to impose additional obstacles to registering to vote,” Gans said.

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