WASHINGTON – In a 7-2 decision announced on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require proof of citizenship for an individual to be added to voter rolls.
“We conclude that the fairest reading of the statute is that a state-imposed requirement of evidence of citizenship not required by the Federal Form is ‘inconsistent with’ the [National Voter Registration Act of 1993]’s mandate that States ‘accept and use’ the Federal Form,” Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the court’s majority.
That decision was applauded by Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, who referred to laws passed by states requiring voter identification as “discriminatory.”
“[Monday’s] Supreme Court ruling marks an important victory for voters in Arizona and those across this nation whose right to vote has been under attack with discriminatory voter identification laws that have been enacted in states like Arizona, Alabama and Georgia,” Sewell said in a statement. “No right is more fundamental to our democracy than our right to vote. The Supreme Court ruled that the current federal law, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, supersedes Arizona’s overreaching proof of citizenship law and ensured this most basic right is protected.”
While Sewell applauded that decision, she said she is looking for to the much-anticipated Shelby County, AL v. Holder ruling from the high court, a case that challenges the constitutionality the requirements of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, one of which is Department of Justice approval for voting changes in some states, including Alabama.
“While we celebrate today’s decision, we must not forget that attempts to disenfranchise voters across this country will continue,” Sewell said. “I anxiously await the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Shelby County, AL v. Holder case and it is my hope that the court will rule in favor of the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act. I remain committed to working with my colleagues and supporting legislation that will help ensure free and fair elections, so that everyone, including students, seniors, minorities and veterans can exercise their constitutional right to vote.”
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