Cruz to add voter ID amendment to immigration bill
POSTED: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 6:37am
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 4:11pm
(KETK) — In a move that could affect the prospects for the immigration reform bill, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced Monday that he plans to file an amendment to the legislation that would allow states to require proof of citizenship before registering to vote.
His announcement came in response to the Supreme Court's decision Monday to strike down an Arizona provision in its voter registration law that required identification confirming citizenship.
If the senator's amendment goes to the floor, it could throw a wrench in the already-complicated immigration reform bill. A bipartisan group of senators have been pushing the bill.
The 7-2 majority said the state's voter-approved Proposition 200 interfered with federal law designed to make voter registration easier, according to CNN.
The state called it a "sensible precaution" to prevent voter fraud. Civil rights group countered it adds an unconstitutional and burdensome layer of paperwork for tens of thousands of citizens.
Late Monday afternoon, Senator Cruz released the following statement to KETK regarding his plans to file an amendment to the Senate Immigration Reform Bill (S. 744), to close a loophole in the federal "Moter Voter" law that preempts states from enforcing requirements that would ensure those registered to vote are U.S. citizens. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is a co-sponsor.
“The right to vote is a fundamental building block of our nation’s democratic process and it crucial that we have the measures in place to uphold the integrity of our elections,” said Sen. Cruz. “This amendment ensures that states can enforce the commonsense requirement that those registered to vote must actually be U.S. citizens.”
The Cruz-Vitter amendment states: “Nothing in subsection (a) [42 U.S.C. §1973gg-4(a)] shall be construed to preempt any State law requiring evidence of citizenship in order to complete any requirement to register to vote in elections for Federal office.” This measure simply amends an existing federal statute; it does not require states to adopt certain voting requirements, respecting the interests of federalism.
On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that the federal “Motor Voter” law (the National Voter Registration Act of 1993) preempted Arizona’s commonsense requirement that a person must present concrete evidence of citizenship before they are allowed to register to vote.
“Justice Alito said in his dissent, ‘I do not think that this is what Congress intended’ and I agree with him,” the Senator said. “The Court’s ruling leaves a hole in federal law that allows non-citizens to register by using the promulgated federal form without showing proof of citizenship. This encourages voter fraud and we must ensure that our elections are fair and accurately reflect the will of our citizens.”
CNN and The Office of Sen. Cruz contributed to this report.