STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Rep. Lydia Hernandez, D-Phoenix (District 29), issued this statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that states cannot require people to prove their citizenship when registering to vote using a federal registration form. The Supreme Court’s ruling, however, will permit Arizona to continue to require proof of citizenship from people registering to vote with state-issued forms.
“Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court supports the idea that we need a fair and equitable voter registration process. I have firsthand experience with the burdens created by Arizona’s voter registration form.
“Over the past few years, Latinos have endured problems when registering to vote using the state’s registration forms. These issues made it more difficult, if not impossible, for some to register to vote. Certain eligible voters were asked to prove their U.S. citizenship after they submitted their registration forms. It could take from several months to more than a year to verify the documents. This effectively prevented some eligible U.S. citizens from participating in the election process. In other instances, voters who did submit the required documentation learned that their names were missing from the rolls on Election Day.
“In this situation, many voted using provisional ballots, if they were aware that was an option. Some who did not know they could use a provisional ballot simply walked away. This problem has gotten worse over the years, which helps to explain the long lines at the polls and thousands of provisional ballots that Arizonans cast during last November’s election.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling will help to ensure that this no longer happens. We should be doing more to ensure increased voter participation. Our democracy is only made stronger by the inclusion of more voices.”