Law School Case Brief
Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Ariz., Inc. - 570 U.S. 1, 133 S. Ct. 2247 (2013)
The National Voter Registration Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 1973gg et seq., requires States to “accept and use” a uniform federal form to register voters for federal elections. The contents of that form (the "Federal Form") are prescribed by a federal agency, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The Federal Form developed by the EAC does not require documentary evidence of citizenship; rather, it requires only that an applicant aver, under penalty of perjury, that he is a citizen.
Arizona voters adopted Proposition 200 in 2004, and that initiative was embodied in Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 16-166(F) and required county recorders to reject any application for registration to vote that was not accompanied by satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship. A group of Arizona residents and a group of nonprofit organizations challenged § 16-166(F), claiming that it was preempted by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). The District Court granted Arizona summary judgment on respondents' claim that the NVRA pre-empted Arizona's requirement. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part but reversed in part, holding that the state law's documentary-proof-of-citizenship requirement was pre-empted by the NVRA.
Was the state law’s documentary-proof-of-citizenship preempted by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA)?
The Supreme Court found that 42 U.S.C.S. § 1973gg-4(a)(1) required States to “accept and use” a uniform federal form to register voters for federal elections, and because the form developed by the federal Election Assistance Commission required only that an applicant aver, under penalty of perjury, that he was a citizen, Arizona’s evidence-of-citizenship requirement, as applied to federal form applicants, was preempted by the NVRA’s mandate that States “accept and use” the federal form. According to the Court, the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Const. art. I, § 4, cl. 1, allowed Congress to preempt state regulations governing the “Times, Places and Manner” of holding congressional elections.
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