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Supreme Court Makes Arizona Voter ID Law a Reality this November

The US Supreme Court on Friday overturned an injunction issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop an Arizona voter identification law from being enforced in the upcoming elections. The ruling means that the voter identification law Ñ which requires voters to present a photo ID with their current street address or two alternate forms of ID Ñ will be enforced in the elections only 13 days from now. The Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of this type of law, ruling only that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had made a procedural error in granting the injunction. The constitutionality will be decided by a federal district court, according to the Arizona Republic.

Voting rights advocates argue that the law’s requirements will make voting unnecessarily difficult for those who may not possess an acceptable form of ID, such as the elderly, poor, and disabled. Opponents also argue that since voter fraud is not widespread, this law is unnecessary. For example, District Attorney Andrew Thomas from Arizona’s Maricopa County testified earlier this year that only four non-citizens voted in the 2005 primary, and only ten non-citizens were charged with registering to vote out of the 1.5 million registered voters of Maricopa County, the Arizona Republic reports. Alternately, about 1,000 registered voters were prevented from voting in Maricopa County in the 2005 election because of the law, according to the Huffington Post.

Nationally, since 2002, only 86 people have been convicted of voter fraud out of 200 million voters, and none of these offenses would have been caught by voter identification rules, according to VoteTrustUSA. Six to 10 percent of US citizens – 11 to 20 million people – lack a state-issued photo ID.

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Sources:

Arizona Republic 10/20/06; VoteTrustUSA 10/17/06; Associated Press 10/23/06; Huffington Post 10/20/06; Arizona Republic 8/4/06

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