Amicus Brief, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

Amicus Brief, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

January 22, 2013

Today, Demos and O’Melveny and Myers LLP filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of respondents in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (No. 12-71) on behalf of community-based voter registration organizations Rock the Vote, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”), Border Action Network, Fair Share Alliance and Fair Share Alliance Education Fund, Mi Familia Vota, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Nonprofit VOTE, People for the American Way Foundation, Promise Arizona and Promise Arizona in Action, Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition, Virginia New Majority, and Voto Latino. 

The brief urges the Court to strike down the portion of Arizona Proposition 200 that requires documentary proof of citizenship to accompany any voter registration application, even when applicants have attested to citizenship under oath. Arizona’s law directly conflicts with the federal National Voter Registration Act, which has the purpose of streamlining the registration process and prohibits unnecessary obstacles to voter registration.


Community-based registration efforts overwhelmingly rely on approaching individuals who did not plan in advance to register at that time or location and who are thus unlikely to be carrying a birth certificate, passport, or other documentation.  Even when a potential registrant does happen to be carrying one of the required documents, logistical hurdles—ranging from an inability to copy documents on the spot to an unwillingness to hand over sensitive identification documents to registration drive volunteers—greatly hinder the ability of community-based organizations to register people in Arizona. 

In short, community-based voter registration efforts are made more difficult, less effective, and more expensive as a result of Proposition 200’s citizenship documentation requirements.