Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit struck down an Arizona voter ID law on the basis that its requirements conflicted with the the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 which created a standard federal registration form in order to encourage more people to register to vote. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief echoing the court’s argument that the law’s registration requirements are pre-empted by federal law.
The DOJ says that the arguments in the legal brief speak for themselves, but Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (R) thinks there are more cynical politics at play. Yesterday, Horne accused President Obama of standing in the way of his state’s voter ID law because he wants “illegals” to be able to vote for him:
Horne, a Republican, told Capitol Media Services he sees something more sinister.
“I think the motive is that the more illegals that vote, the better the Obama administration thinks it will do,’’ he said. As proof, Horne pointed out that the Department of Justice did not file its friend of the court brief until just last week. That is nearly three years after the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and others first challenged the law. More to the point, Horne said, is that the administration waited until virtually the last minute: The case is set to be heard in just two weeks.
Logically, Horne’s reasoning falls flat. Undocumented immigrants usually prefer to keep a low profile and probably wouldn’t risk getting detected just to their name on the voter rolls. The notion that Obama would actually invite the controversy that massive voter fraud in Arizona would create around his reelection bid is even more ludicrous.
Horne is convinced that “illegals are voting and they shouldn’t be voting.” He blames the problem on organizations like ACORN and insists that the burden of the voter ID law’s requirements “is miniscule.” MALDEF attorney Nina Perales claims that Horne is misrepresenting a series of “scattered incidents’’ involving people who thought they were eligible to register to vote, did register, and later found that they were not eligible.
While Horne claims that there have been 200 incidents of non-citizens registering to vote (only a handful of which were prosecuted), he may want to pay more attention to the massive number of citizens who are being disenfranchised by the new law. The Arizona Advocacy Network claims that it has “already barred tens of thousands of citizens from exercising their most basic right in a democracy, the right to vote.” Most notably, Native Americans, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, some young voters, and a 97 year-old citizen.
The full 9th Circuit has agreed to reconsider the 2010 ruling by the three-judge panel.