Let’s not sugarcoat anything — Arizona’s Proposition 200 is racist, and the Supreme Court needs to strike it down. A law that systematically forces naturalized citizens to spend an appreciable amount of time to vote than native-born citizens is wrong. And that’s exactly what Prop. 200 does.
Passed in 2004, Prop. 200 requires new voter registration applicants to present proof of U.S. citizenship in order to register. This includes a birth certificate, passport, or naturalization certificate. While this doesn’t seem outrageous, its implementation is horrible.
Native-born citizens can mail a copy of their birth certificate to the registrar to fulfill this requirement. Naturalized citizens? They have to physically bring an official copy of their naturalization certificate to a voter registrar. They can’t make their own copies and they can’t mail anything. They have to get in a car or on a bus and physically be at a registrar.
Prop. 200 also hurts the efforts of community organizations, as they can no longer run voter registration drives without requiring new applicants to also bring their citizenship papers and making copies.
As bad as all of this is, it could have been even worse. Arizona tried to reject the use of the federal voter registration card in 2012 because it didn’t fulfill their state law’s requirement. Why’s that bad? The federal registration card is translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog. The Arizona registration form? Just Spanish.
And while this law only negatively affects 3.5% of Arizona’s white population, over 40% of Arizona’s Asian American population is naturalized.
There’s no excuse, Prop. 200 will be presented before the Supreme Court in March, and there’s no way they can let it stand. It’s bad for Arizona, it’s bad for U.S. citizens, and it’s bad for America. (end)