Developing: Justice Antonin Scalia appeared to side with Arizona in March oral arguments on the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration.
But Scalia wrote the majority opinion (PDF) on Monday striking down the state requirement. Scalia said Arizona law conflicts with a federal “motor voter” law that doesn’t require proof of citizenship. Instead, the federal law says, those signing the form need only swear that they are citizens.
Scalia’s opinion said states weren’t entirely hamstrung, however. They may still reject would-be voters based on information establishing they are ineligible. Also, they may ask the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to alter the federal form to include information they need to determine eligibility. If the commission rejects a request, the states may appeal. In the case before the court, Arizona wasn’t able to persuade the commission to change the form, but it may still appeal, Scalia said.
In oral arguments, Scalia had suggested that it would be fine for a state to ensure the integrity of its voting system when the federal form is lacking. “When the commission fails to do what enables the state to assess qualifications, the state will do it,” he said. “No problemo.”. . .