The League of Women Voters, a national voting rights advocacy group, has sued a federal commission charged with standardizing voter registration. But instead of defending its voting commission, the Obama administration appears to agree with the basis of the lawsuit seeking injunction against a proof of citizenship requirement on voter registration forms in three states. According to papers filed Monday in U.S. District Court, the Department of Justice has urged Judge Richard Leon to block a decision by the director of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) allowing registration forms in Kansas, Alabama and Georgia to insist that voters provide documentation of citizenship. The federal National Voter Registration Act requires states to allow voter registration when residents apply for or renew a state government-issued ID or driver’s license, but does not sanction proof of citizenship requirements on so-called “motor voter” forms.
Even though it’s the Justice Department’s job to defend the EAC, the Obama administration said acting commission director Brian Newby had erred when he issued a Jan. 29 directive allowing three states to change federal instruction that refer to proof of citizenship, Politico reported.
“The United States consents to plaintiffs’ request for entry of a preliminary injunction,” federal lawyers wrote in legal papers filed by the DOJ. “Because [Newby] did not determine that the states’ documentation requirements were necessary to verify voter eligibility, the decisions cannot pass muster under the [Administrative Procedure Act.] The executive director did not ‘consider the relevant factors…’ or ‘articulate a satisfactory explanation for its action.'”