U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled in favor of requiring residents of Georgia, Alabama, and Kansas to provide proof of U.S. citizenship upon registering to vote. Most states only require residents to swear that they are citizens of the U.S. and require no proof.
According to a story by the Associated Press, Leon sided against several voting rights groups after they filed a suit against Brian Newby, the executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, after he altered the proof-of-citizenship requirements for federal registration at the request of the three southern states. The commission over which Newby presides was created by the Bush 43 administration in an effort to avoid electoral disfunction similar to the kind that took place in the 2000 election. Though it is meant to be a bipartisan organization made up of two Republican commissioners and two Democratic commissioners, the commission currently has a vacancy on the Democratic side.
The judge refused to issue a temporary injunction against Newby for his actions, stating that to do so would merely be a “thinly-veiled ” attempt at making a decision that should be decided in a final judgement in court. As of the article’s release, no trial date has been set for the official decision.
The voting rights groups took opposition to Newby’s action for the obvious reason that they believe it obstructs eligible voters from registering, not to mention that it would hinder their ability to conduct voter registration drives. They also believe the move by Newby flies directly in the face of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s original goal of providing a simple means by which people can register.
Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, applauded Leon’s judgement saying, “Kansas’s proof of citizenship requirement does not harm on the plaintiffs. It is a necessary requirement to ensure that only US citizens vote in Kansas.” However, only less than one percent of Kansans use the federal form to register, and according to the AP, Alabama and Georgia are “not currently enforcing their proof-of-citizenship laws.”
You can read the full article here.