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Court: Proof Of Citizenship Not Required On Federal Voter Forms

Keith Ivey


According to a decision issued by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Election Assistance Commission will not be forced to add proof of citizenship requirements to federal voter registration forms in Kansas or Arizona.

In short, the ruling means voters in Kansas and Arizona will be able to register for federal elections without presenting proof of citizenship—usually in the form of a birth certificate or passport—creating a loophole.

The appellate court reversed a decision made by District Court Judge Eric Melgren of Wichita—ruling that the the Election Assistance Commission did have discretionary power to turn away requests by both Kansas and Arizona to add proof of citizenship requirements to federal voter registration forms.

The court also ruled the EAC Executive Director was within her right to make that decision without commissioners. 

“The EAC had valid authority under the (Help America Vota Act) to subdelegate decision making authority to its Executive Director relating to the contents of the Federal Form,” the opinion states.

Credit Wikimedia Commons
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach

The appellate court’s decision also states that in a lawsuit against the EAC, “(Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett)  failed to advance proof that registration fraud in the use of the federal form prevented Arizona and Kansas from enforcing their voter qualifications.”

Kobach, who just recently won reelection, has said proof of citizenship requirements are a necessary deterrent of voter fraud.

This decision is a tough blow for Kobach and Bennett, who have been fighting for the right to manipulate federal voter registration forms distributed in their states.

The decision does not effect those registering for federal elections using state forms or those registering for state or local elections.

Below is the full decision handed down by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals