Supremes Block Voter ID

Decline to hear case

The Supreme Court effectively blocked an attempt by Arizona and Kansas to require voter ID after the high court declined to hear an appeal.

By rejecting a joint appeal by the states, the high court left in place a November 2014 ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That appeals court decided that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, a federal agency that oversees changes to state voter registration procedures, was not required to grant the states' request that proof of citizenship be added to registration requirements.

The Election Assistance Commission was established in 2002 to support and enforce the Help America Vote Act of 2002, an act introduced by Ohio Republican Richard Ney who was later convicted on corruption charges.

As Bloomberg explains, this has been a drawn-out case of the two states trying to bring in voter ID requirements.

Arizona and Kansas made that request, and the EAC refused, saying the states didn’t need evidence of citizenship to verify voter eligibility. The agency pointed to the federal form’s requirement that prospective voters swear that they are citizens, under penalty of perjury.

Arizona and Kansas sued, and a federal appeals court agreed with the EAC, saying the 2013 Supreme Court ruling gives the commission latitude to reject unnecessary requests. 

The decision, following last week's rulings on same-sex marriage and Obamacare, is another win for progressives who oppose voter ID requirements.

Issues