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In the run-up to the election, many may have missed a critically important court decision on voter registration handed down on October 26. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Gonzalez v. Arizona that the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) blocks the state of Arizona from implementing a proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration.
- This is important for two reasons: First, it blocks the discriminatory requirements set by Arizona. (Many Americans don’t have the necessary documents to prove citizenship, and the mail-in registration process doesn’t really work very well with such requirements.) Second, it clarifies that the federal NVRA sets the terms for voter registration applications – the states can’t add more requirements. (For the legal mavens, the judicial panel relied heavily on the Elections Clause of the Constitution, Article I, Section 2.)