Prof. Levinson publishes op-ed,"Did Justice Scalia Just Make It Easier To Register To Vote?"
Associate Clinical Professor Jessica Levinson published the op-ed, "Did Justice Scalia Just Make It Easier To Register To Vote?," on the Jurist Forum. She examines the implications of the US Supreme Court's recent decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona In the op-ed, she writes:
In 1993 Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The NRVA requires that when States register voters for federal elections they "accept and use" a federal form. With respect to proof of citizenship, the so-called "Federal Form" requires that would-be voters profess that they are citizens. This claim is made under penalty of perjury.
The NVRA provides that states must allow voters to register to vote for Federal candidates with a driver's license application, in person, or by mail. The third method, registering to vote by mail, is at issue in this case. But Arizona law requires more. The state passed a law, via the initiative process, requiring that applicants must present documentary evidence of citizenship. If applicants do not, then state officials must reject the voter registration application.
Now let's get to the Court's rationale. The majority found that while the Elections Clause of the US Constitution gives States the responsibility to promulgate regulations providing the time, place and manner of federal candidate elections, it gives Congress the power to change or supersede those regulations. The majority concluded that the NVRA requirements that States "accept and use" the Federal Form preempts Arizona's additional voter registration requirements, specifically the requirement that officials reject voter registration forms without documentary evidence of citizenship.
Put another way, the Court concluded that the NVRA prohibits states from requiring that voter registration applications provide information in addition to that which is required by the Federal Form.