Kansas and Arizona are suing the federal government over the feds’ refusal to allow those two states to institute voter ID laws that conflict with federal law. The lawsuit asks the federal government to modify its voter registration form in those states to allow for proof of citizenship. Currently, the federal voter registration form only requires prospective voters to verbally declare that they are citizens.
Kansas and Arizona will probably lose their case — the supremacy of federal law over state law is a deeply entrenched facet of our Constitution and is buttressed by miles of case law and legal precedent.
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Still, it’s worth considering the merit of Kansas and Arizona’s larger point: should proof of citizenship be required to vote?
The status quo, with its laughably lax requirement of a mere verbal “pledge” that an individual is a citizen, doesn’t cut it.
But America has a dark history of denying voting rights to women and minorities. As Americans, we can and should have a good faith conversation about the appropriate means of determining eligibility to vote.