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U.S. District Court Ruling Allows States To Require Proof Of Citizenship On Federal Voting Forms

Celeste Lindell, flickr Creative Commons

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren ruled Wednesday afternoon that federal voter registration forms in both Kansas and Arizona will be modified to reflect the state forms.

Judge Melgren answered one key question with today’s decision: that it’s ultimately a state’s right to determine what is on their federal voter registration forms, and not that of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Arguments were given in the U.S. District Court in Wichita last month, where Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach spoke on behalf of Kansas and Arizona, filing a lawsuit to add proof of citizenship to federal registration forms.

Both Kansas and Arizona already have this requirement on their state forms – but federal forms currently only require a sworn statement of citizenship.

Kobach says that proof of citizenship requirements keep non-citizens from voting. Critics say it keeps minorities, the elderly and students from voting.

The commission will be required to work with both states to add proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, to federal forms in the future.

The decision is open for appeal.