Saturday, October 7, 2006

9th Circuit Court blocks Arizona voter ID law.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a motion to prevent the voter identification provisions of Arizona’s Proposition 200 from going into effect for this November’s election. The Proposition, passed in 2004, would have required proof of citizenship such as a passport or birth certificate in order to register to vote, and a picture ID to be presented on election day to cast a ballot.

The court ruled that the temporary stay would be in effect until the merits of the case could be decided as to whether the proposition violates federal election laws on the grounds that it discriminates against the poor and elderly who may not have access or means to acquire the documentation necessary.

Although not a final decision on the matter, the upholding of the motion does not bode well for other such measures being contemplated around the country and by the House of Representatives

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked an Arizona state law requiring voters to present identification at polling stations and proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an emergency motion by opponents of the law for an injunction to prevent the law's voter identification requirements from taking effect for the November 7 elections.

The ruling by the San Francisco-based court also denied enforcement of a measure requiring voters to produce proof of citizenship to register to vote. The deadline to register to vote in the election is next Monday.

The law became effective two years ago under Proposition 200, a measure passed by voters to prevent illegal immigrants from voting. It required people to produce proof of citizenship, such as a passport, to register to vote, and picture ID, such as a driver's license, or two pieces of nonphoto ID, in order to cast a ballot.

Last month, in a move also aimed at illegal immigrants, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to require Americans to provide proof of U.S. citizenship in order to vote in federal elections.

Opponents of the Arizona law said it discriminated against minorities and the poor, who might not have funds to obtain the necessary proof of identification.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office said it would seek an immediate review of the ruling and would take it to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary in coming days.

Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer said the ruling could lead to "extreme confusion" on polling day.

"This is very alarming to have the Court of Appeals in San Francisco stay these voting measures as passed by the people of Arizona," Brewer said in a statement.

"The fact is we very successfully implemented identification at the polls during September's primary election without a hitch," added Brewer.


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