Kansas and Arizona can require voters to produce proof of citizenship before letting them vote in federal elections, a judge ruled Wednesday. The federal judge dealt the two states a decided win, ruling that the federal government overstepped its authority by limiting what the states could require of prospective voters. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren ordered the Election Assistance Commission to immediately modify the federal voter registration form for Kansas and Arizona to include proof of citizenship. “Kansas has paved the way for all states to enact proof-of-citizenship requirements,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said. Commission spokesman Bryan Whitener declined to comment, saying the ruling is being reviewed. He wouldn’t say how long it would take to change the federal registration form to comply with the decision.
The existing federal form, rarely used in Kansas, lets prospective voters register even when they lack documents if they declare under penalty of perjury that they are U.S. citizens.
Wednesday’s ruling puts the federal election requirement on par with those for state elections in Kansas, which has been requiring would-be voters to prove their citizenship with birth certificates, passports or other documents since the beginning of last year.