Kansas and Arizona sue federal government to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote

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August 27, 2013


By Greg Janetka

TOPEKA, Kansas: Officials in Kansas and Arizona filed a federal lawsuit on August 21, seeking to force the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) to alter federal voter registration forms in order to require proof of citizenship. The forms currently only require voters to affirm they are U.S. citizens.[1]

Both states have passed laws requiring proof of citizenship, but Arizona saw its provision struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. In that decision, Justice Antonin Scalia said the state had the option to ask the EAC to modify the form. If the commission did not act, the state could take the case back to the courts.[2]

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (R) stated, “After pursuing these procedures, we will win this case and establish Arizona’s right to be sure that only citizens vote in Arizona, and not illegal aliens.”[1]

One issue, however, is that the EAC has had a vacancy since 2011 and has lacked a quorum since 2010, leaving it in a sort of limbo.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) summed up the situation, saying, “We are in an interesting situation where a federal law creates a federal agency and says states must go through this federal agency to modify the federal form but the federal agency says we’re stuck, we can’t act.”[3]

The changes outlined in the lawsuit would only apply to Kansas and Arizona.

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