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Purcell v. Gonzalez

Supreme Court of the United States

October 20, 2006, Decided

(No. 06A375 (06-532)), (No. 06A379 (06-533))

Opinion

 [*2]   [***3] 

 [**6] Per Curiam.

The State of Arizona and county officials from four of its counties seek relief from an interlocutory injunction entered by a two-judge motions panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Justice Kennedy has referred the applicants' filings to the Court. We construe the filings of the State and the county officials as petitions for certiorari; we grant the petitions; and we vacate the order of the Court of Appeals.

In 2004, Arizona voters approved Proposition 200. The measure sought to combat voter fraud by requiring voters to present proof of citizenship when they register to vote and to present identification when they vote on election day.

The election procedures implemented to effect Proposition 200 do not necessarily [****2]  result in the turning away of qualified, registered voters by election officials for lack of proper identification. A voter who arrives at the polls on election day without identification may cast a conditional provisional ballot. For that ballot to be counted, the voter is allowed five business days to return to a designated site and present proper identification. In addition any voter who knows he or she cannot secure identification within five business days of the election has the option to vote before election day during the early voting period. The State has determined that, because there is adequate time during the early voting period to compare the voters' signatures on the ballot with their signatures on the registration rolls, voters need not present identification if voting early.

Arizona is a covered jurisdiction under § 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. So it was required to preclear any new voting "standard, practice, or procedure" with either the United States Attorney General or the District Court for the District of Columbia to ensure its new voting policy did "not have the purpose [or] effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color,  [****3]  " 42 U.S.C. § 1973c. See  [*3]  Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 461-462, 123 S. Ct. 2498, 156 L. Ed. 2d 428 (2003). On May 6, 2005, the United States Attorney General precleared the procedures Arizona adopted under Proposition 200.

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549 U.S. 1 *; 127 S. Ct. 5 **; 166 L. Ed. 2d 1 ***; 2006 U.S. LEXIS 8000 ****; 75 U.S.L.W. 3218; 20 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 1

HELEN PURCELL, MARICOPA COUNTY RECORDER, et al., Petitioners v. MARIA M. GONZALEZ et al. ARIZONA et al., Petitioners v. MARIA M. GONZALEZ et al.

Prior History:  [****1] ON APPLICATIONS FOR STAY 

Gonzalez v. Arizona, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76638 (D. Ariz., Oct. 11, 2006)

CORE TERMS

election, voter, identification, injunction

Governments, State & Territorial Governments, Elections, Constitutional Law, Elections, Terms & Voting, General Overview