Congressman Jim Bridenstine

Representing the 1st District of Oklahoma
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Protecting the Integrity of State Elections

Jul 16, 2013
Jim's Blog
I am an original co-sponsor of the “State Sovereignty in Voting Act” (HR 2409).  
 
On June 17, the Supreme Court ruled that Arizona’s law requiring documentary evidence of citizenship to vote is unconstitutional because it preempted the federal government’s National Voter Registration Act.  The current voter registration law, passed in 1993, mandates that applicants must only “attest” to citizenship by signature without providing any proof such as a birth certificate, passport, etc.  Given our large illegal population – particularly in southern border states – the weak “sign and attest” requirement resulted in a system wracked by fraud. 
 
Introduced by Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ), the State Sovereignty in Voting Act empowers states to protect their voting systems and the integrity of their elections.  The bill permits states to decide whether or not to add “documentary evidence” requirements to prove citizenship.  
 
I believe this bill fully comports with the Supreme Court’s decision.  The Court’s opinion was clear: states can indeed add additional requirements but only after being granted this authority by the federal government.  The Supreme Court decision is in accord with Article I, Section Four of the U.S. Constitution, which states that “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections… shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.”  This bill, in granting authority that the Supreme Court identified as absent, is an important, constitutional move to reinforce state sovereignty.