Newsletter subscribe

Politics, Videos

Court ruling on Arizona voter ID a mixed bag

Posted: April 19, 2012 at 10:45 am   /   by

Here’s Reuters from Tuesday:

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday ruled Arizona may require voters to show identification at the polls, a ruling likely to add fuel to the fiery debate about voting rights in a presidential election year.

But the court also ruled the state cannot demand that they show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in federal elections, a decision the state’s attorney general said he would appeal.

That could set the stage for yet another U.S. Supreme Court showdown over a contentious Arizona law touching on citizenship issues. Next week, the high court will hear arguments over the state’s effort to crack down on illegal immigration.

“Arizona may require voters to show identification at the polls”

Well gosh, thanks! That’s very kind of the court to allow a sovereign state to ask people if they are who they say they are before exercising one of the most important civic functions.

But then . . .

“the state cannot demand that they show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in federal elections”

Why not. Let’s see, federal elections . . . federal elections. Sounds like those take place in some country somewhere. Can I go vote in Australia? Can I exercise my franchise in Qatar? (Wait, can anyone?)

No, no, and not really, no.

Countries don’t allow non-citizens to vote. But apparently, American appeals courts don’t allow states to check to see whether people are citizens before registering them to vote. That doesn’t comport with common sense. They may have found some legalistic way to justify their ruling. Perhaps something emanated from a penumbra somewhere. But it doesn’t actually square with normal, everyday common sense.

And it’s hard to imagine why anyone might be worried about voter identification fraud . . .

You can not only get Eric Holder’s ballot without ID, you can get ballots for Bill Maher, Ben Jealous, and David Brock.


Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook