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A Case to Watch: Gonzalez v. State of Arizona

Call me cynical a thousand times over, but every time I see this kind of response on the part of the Obama administration, I find myself wondering what sneaky underhanded tactic they are up to this time.  I know, I know…it’s horrible to own up to that much cynicism isn’t it?  “Better safe than sorry” is the name of the game in regards to the current admin, unfortunately.  Here’s a head up for a case that will be heard next week….

On June 3, 2011, the Obama administration Department of Justice filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the voter ID case of Gonzalez v. State of Arizona.  The case is scheduled to be heard on June 21st, so filing this brief less than a month before the hearing seems…well, questionable to say the least.  The argument to be presented by the DoJ is as follows:

This case presents a question of statutory interpretation – namely, whether the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) precludes States from requiring documentary proof of citizenship before registering an eligible voter who otherwise completes the uniform federal voter registration application (the Federal Form).

If I’m reading this correctly (and that’s a big “if”), the DoJ is stating that if someone registers to vote via the electronic Voter Registration Form that is posted online at the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) website, this should supersede any requests made by a state to requiring documentation proving citizenship to be provided for voter registration purposes.

On the surface of the situation, it seems as if the Obama admin may be trying to keep the door open to the possibility of getting illegal immigrants the opportunity to vote in 2012.  More than likely, it’s another stall tactic designed to prevent the state from implementing the voter ID law (which would be just another way to provide illegal immigrants with the opportunity to vote). Yet another possibility is that the admin may be hoping to establish a precedent that let’s them bypass state voter ID requirements.

I have to admit that I’m just not seeing the angle they are trying to play on this one (other than trying to stall the legislation).   The purpose of NVRA may have been to increase voter registration and prevent discriminatory practices, but the bill was constructed in such a way that it very much so supports legal citizenry voting rights.

For example, in Title 42, Sec 1993-gg3(c)(2)(C)(i) of the NVRA plainly states that “the voter registration application portion of an application for a State’s motor vehicle driver’s license shall include a statement that states each eligibility requirement (including citizenship)”. By law, states have not only the right but also the responsibility to establish provisions that protect electoral integrity at a state level.

The EAC voter registration form instructions states the following:

All States require that you be a United States citizen by birth or naturalization to register to vote in federal and State elections. Federal law makes it illegal to falsely claim U.S. citizenship to register to vote in any federal, State, or local election.

The very first question on the form is regarding to citizenship.  Completion of the form requires inclusion of an ID number, whether it is a driver’s license number or SSN.   The form also identifies penalties that can be faced under law if someone commits perjury by presenting false information on a voter registration form.

The information I have provided is true to the best of my knowledge under penalty of perjury. If I have provided false information, I may be fined, imprisoned, or (if not a U.S. citizen) deported from or refused entry to the United States

All the way down the line, time and time again, both the NVRA legislation and the form that is used for registration purposes make it abundantly plain that if there is a question regarding citizenship, the person does NOT have the legal right to vote.

I suppose it might also be possible that if the DoJ gets a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court in the plaintiffs favor, the Obama admin might attempt to make use of it as a precedent on which to try to challenge the voter ID laws that have been and are being implemented in other states.

OTOH, Dems made a lot of promises to the illegal immigrant population of this nation that they haven’t even come close to meeting.  This could be nothing more than seeking political “cover” to offer as a plea…”hey, at least we tried”…”vote for us again and we’ll get it right this time”.  I could see Dems doing something like that.

Either way, this is a case for conservatives to keep an eye on during the next week

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