Thursday, October 28, 2010

VOTE - No Citizenship Required

In 2004, Arizona voters passed Proposition 200, the Arizona Voter Identification Laws.  What we attempted to accomplish was to help insure that only legal citizens of the U.S. would be voting in our elections.  The law required anyone who registered to vote to provide a valid Arizona driver's license, or an Identification Card, or other form of record with a digitized signature on file with AZ Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). 

It also required that a voter provide ID at the polling place in order to verify that they are who they claim to be.  We have all heard the stories of voter fraud, such as people voting under a dead person's name, etc.  This requirement would be satisfied by meeting the following (which has been copied from the AZ Secretary of State website):
Every qualified elector is required to show proof of identity at the polling place before receiving a ballot. The following lists show acceptable forms of identification at the polling place.

You may bring:
1.) Any one form of ID from list 1, OR ;
2.) Any two forms of ID from list 2, OR ;
3.) Two forms of ID as presented in list 3.

LIST# 1 - Sufficient Photo ID including name and address (1 required)*:
· Valid Arizona driver license
· Valid Arizona non-operating identification license
· Tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification
· Valid United States federal, state, or local government issued identification

LIST# 2 - Sufficient ID without photograph bearing name and address (2 required)*:
· Utility bill of the elector that is dated within 90 days of the date of the election. A utility bill may be for electric, gas, water, solid waste, sewer, telephone, cellular phone, or cable television
· Bank or credit union statement that is dated within 90 days of the date of the election
· Valid Arizona Vehicle Registration
· Indian census card
· Property tax statement of the elector's residence
· Tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification
· Arizona vehicle insurance card
· Recorder's Certificate
· Valid United States federal, state, or local government issued identification, including a voter registration card issued by the County Recorder
· Any mailing to the elector marked "Official Election Material"

LIST# 3 - MIX & MATCH from Lists# 1 & 2 (2 required)*:
· Any valid photo identification from List 1 in which the address does not reasonably match the precinct register accompanied by a non-photo identification from List 2 in which the address does reasonably match the precinct register
· U.S. Passport without address and one valid item from List 2
· U.S. Military identification without address and one valid item from List 2

* An identification is "valid" unless it can be determined on its face that it has expired.
Notice that last line, an ID is "valid" unless it is expired - not if it is fake.

To summarize, a person could register to vote in AZ by producing a form of ID with a digital signature that has been submitted to be on file with AZ DMV, or a driver's license (DL).  But, remember, this process can be completed without ever showing the DL to a person.  It can be done online by supplying, on the form, your DL number.  Everyone knows that no one can get a driver's license unless they have proved to be a legal citizen...or wait, don't we hear of people obtaining these documents, illegally, all the time?  In fact, wasn't there a push to give a DL to an illegal alien "in order to make our streets safer"?  So, even though AZ passed a voter ID law, registering was not too difficult.

As to producing ID at the polls, it is not necessary to have a photo ID to prove who you are.  If you do not have an ID in the first list (such as a DL), you can show up with a cell phone bill and your garbage bill (both in your name and showing the same address on record for that voter).  These definitely prohibit any voter fraud being possible.  After all, you must prove citizenship in order to have your trash hauled away from the house you rent.  No illegal aliens can get cell phones so it is proof of citizenship if they have a cell phone.  Or maybe it is a bank statement.  Didn't Bank of America launch a program to get illegal aliens signed up with bank accounts a couple years ago?

When we voted and passed Proposition 200, we were taking a step to limit voting to only those who are legal citizens.  The politicians on the left got involved in defining the types of ID required and we ended up with the above, watered-down list.  But, even though it would still be easy to register and vote and not be a legal citizen, we had some restrictions in place.  Well, that was the case until this week.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (9thCOA) struck down Arizona's voter ID law.  The reason that this could not be allowed to stand any longer was that this law went further than the federal voter registration law.  The 9thCOA declared AZ's law that required a resident to provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, illegal.  Yes, even though voting is a right of citizenship, we cannot require anyone to actually prove they qualify.  (This sounds familiar - seems like the same issue has arisen as to someone becoming president without proving qualification.)

It seems that AZ's law required the very basic level of proof, but that was still to difficult of an obstacle for many people.  If that is too hard, what are the federal requirements?  The federal form for voter registration does not require any form of ID be presented and does not ask for a DL number.  But, just in case someone who is here illegally tries to register, there is one way that we stop them in their tracks.  The form requires them to sign, attesting that they are a legal citizen.  If an illegal signs this, they could be found guilty of perjury.  Since no one who would break the law to get here would be willing to break the law to vote, we can rest knowing their signatures are our guarantee to clean elections and no voter fraud.  Whew, that was close!

The 9thCOA made the ruling 2-1, with retired Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor sitting in for a sick judge and casting the deciding vote.  Yes, she is from Arizona and yes, since retiring, she has been outspoken in promotion of her favorite political agenda issues (no, they are not conservative).

The federal act required states to make voting "widely available" by getting rid of those pesky obstacles to voter registration.  Those bringing the case against AZ claimed the ruling removed the unnecessary barriers to registration.  Those barriers would have required people, such as those who recently became citizens, to have to take extra steps, such as going to DMV and updating their DL to one that does not say that they are not a citizen.  I know, I know, it seems like that would be something they would be doing anyway, but now they do not have to hurry down there and wait in a line.

The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund appealed to the court in 2008, claiming that AZ's law was too onerous.  According to them, the law made people "jump through hoops".  (Does this make you wonder about Comprehensive Immigration Reform and how that proposed legislation is going to make illegals "jump through hoops" in order to become legal.  Will the courts strike down those hoops, also?)  One of the hoops listed has to do with a new citizen, whose registration has been rejected due to not taking the step to update their DL, actually having to photocopy their naturalization papers and this process is so difficult that they might give up and not become a voter.  Seems to me, that if being a citizen and voting has any importance to these non-hoopsters, they would be willing to stop by Kinko's on the way to register and solve the whole hoop problem.

The difficulty of the process does not appear to have hampered registration.  In 2004, AZ had 2.6 million voters.  Currently, there are over 3.1 million voters.  How could this be possible?  The requirements are just too onerous.

According to the Maricopa County Director of Elections, it takes 5-6 seconds to verify the status of anyone providing their naturalization certification number.  What!  You mean to say that they do not have to stop by Kinko's?  They just have to provide the number and all hoops will be removed?

According to the Secretary of State's office, if someone uses the federal form to register in AZ, which they are allowed to do, they do not even have to have a DL number, they can give the last four digits of their social security number, and, again, all hoops are removed.

This brings up another question.  Why can't AZ require stricter voter registration rules than federal rules in order to vote in state, county, city or school board elections?  Why does Washington get to decide what Arizona's rules are for voting in non-federal elections?  Sometimes it seems that some of these rulings only go one way.  In the news is San Francisco's ballot measure, which if approved, would allow illegal aliens to vote in local, school board elections.

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