A federal judge has asked the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to say whether its executive director had the authority to unilaterally require people to prove their citizenship in order to register to vote using a federal form in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon put the question to the commission on Saturday and gave it until June 1 to respond.
The commission’s executive director, Brian Newby, ordered changes to the federal voter registration form used in the three states to conform to their laws requiring people to provide proof-of-citizenship documentation to register. Voting rights groups sued, saying he didn’t have the authority. Leon denied a request for an injunction freezing Newby’s order, but a federal appeals court granted one.
The commission needs three votes to take action, but it currently has two Republican members and one Democrat who often don’t agree on issues.