WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide whether states can force people to prove they're American citizens before registering to vote.
Opponents outside the High Court Monday said they're hopeful the justices will strike down Arizona's voting law because it demands more proof than is required of would-be voters under the federal voter registration law.
"This is about the basic right to vote. Arizona is trying to say 'no.' They will not accept the federal mail voter registration form unless it is accompanied by additional documentation," Nina Perales, vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said.
"We joined the fight against Hitler and Nazism and when we came back to the state of Arizona, we were not allowed to vote until 1948," Terry Rambler, from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, said. "What goes on today to try to suppress voting -- I mean, that really amazes me that this type of thing is still going on to this day."
But Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne defended the law, saying states must have a right to prove people really are eligible to vote.
"It is the burden of the states to determine that all voters are eligible voters, and that means that they are citizens," Horne said.
Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, who wrote the tough Arizona law, agreed.
"We know we have voter fraud. We've had many, many indictments in many states of irregularities and voter fraud," Pearce noted. "It's about time we step up to the plate and insure that the right to vote is reserved for citizens of the United States."
Twelve other states are poised to pass similar voter legislation should the Supreme Court uphold the Arizona law.