citizenship

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Arizona: Maricopa County report says 40,000 voter registration forms found sitting in boxes | Associated Press

A report released Thursday from the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office said 40,000 voter registration forms received before the 2016 election were left sitting in boxes by the previous administration. Under Proposition 200, Arizona voter registration forms are required to have proof of citizenship attached. Without it, the registrant would not be considered eligible to vote in the state. The forms found in the boxes did not have that proof. “It was the policy of the previous administration that if a voter registration form did not comply with Prop. 200 — and it did not show proof of citizenship — it went into a box after a letter went out saying, ‘We need more information,’” Recorder Adrian Fontes, who was elected in November, said.

Full Article: Maricopa County report says 40,000 voter registration forms found sitting in boxes.

National: Judge Sends Voter Registration Case Back to Election Assistance Commission | Courthouse News Service

A federal judge says it’s up to the Election Assistance Commission to decide whether its executive director exceeded his authority when he allowed three states to change a national mail voter registration form to include a requirement of proof of U.S. citizenship. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, held the case must be remanded to the commission “for the limited purpose of providing an interpretation of its internal directive which is necessary for resolution of the threshold issue of whether [Executive Director Brian] Newby acted within his subdelegated authority.” The dispute over the form involves Newby’s 2016 decision to allow Alabama, Georgia and Kansas to change the voter registration form. The three states had previously requested the modifications to reflect their respective state laws. Newby said that he considered their approval to be “ministerial.”

Full Article: Judge Sends Voter Registration Case Back to Agency - Courthouse News Service.

Kansas: Judge hears arguments in voter registration case | The Kansas City Star

Opponents of a Kansas law requiring proof of citizenship before residents can register to vote asked a federal judge Friday to void the requirement. During oral arguments in Kansas City, Kan., attorneys representing voters denied registration asked for summary judgment in their companion cases, rather than going to trial. They argued that evidence already on the record proves that elements of the law were unconstitutional. The law is flawed, the lawyers said, because it doesn’t treat all eligible voters equally. It applies only to new voters, exempting all who registered before Jan. 1, 2013, from having to show proof of citizenship.

Full Article: Judge hears arguments in Kansas voter registration case | The Kansas City Star.

Georgia: License Bill Tweaked: ‘Noncitizen’ Becomes ‘Ineligible Voter’ | WABE

A Georgia House committee approved a measure Monday that would require the phrase “ineligible voter” printed on licenses issued to people who don’t have U.S. citizenship. The bill originally required the term “noncitizen,” but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, said he reconsidered after the legislation faced backlash. “A driver’s license is the first form of an ID that people have, and obviously I just didn’t take into account for political correctness,” Powell said.

Full Article: Ga. License Bill Tweaked: 'Noncitizen' Becomes 'Ineligible Voter' | WABE 90.1 FM.

Kansas: Kobach voting law may disenfranchise voters, report says | The Kansas City Star

A civil rights advisory panel is urging a more thorough review of a Kansas voting law after finding evidence that the law may be disenfranchising voters of color. Kansas passed a law in 2011 that set up requirements that voters must show a photo ID at the polls and must provide proof of citizenship when they register. The policies were adopted at the urging of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as a way to prevent voter fraud. But a draft report from the Kansas Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights details concerns that the law “may have been written and implemented with improper, discriminatory intent.” The report was obtained by The Star. … The report urges the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to investigate whether the Kansas law, which it notes is the strictest in the nation, has violated the federal Voting Rights Act and other voting laws in its implementation.

Full Article: Kobach voting law may disenfranchise voters, report says | The Kansas City Star.

Virginia: House passes bill to require proof of citizenship to vote in state, local elections | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Legislation to require proof of U.S. citizenship before registering to vote in Virginia elections passed the Republican-controlled House of Delegates Wednesday on a 64-33 vote along party lines. Echoing President Donald Trump’s claim, made without evidence, that millions of people in the country illegally have made it onto the voter rolls, the GOP-sponsored bill would apply to state and local elections because citizenship tests are not allowed in federal elections. Citizenship could be proved with a birth certificate, passport, naturalization document or other record accepted under federal law. Anyone registered to vote as of Jan. 1, 2018, would not have to prove their citizenship.

Full Article: Virginia House passes bill to require proof of citizenship to vote in state, local elections | Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Kansas: Judge sets hearing date on Kansas citizenship proof lawsuits | Associated Press

A judge has set a joint hearing on the fate of two federal lawsuits in Kansas challenging the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Monday granted the unopposed request to consolidate oral arguments on motions seeking partial summary judgment. She set March 3 as the hearing date.

National: Americans can vote from space, so why not from U.S. island territories? | CBC

An American orbiting in outer space can vote, but four million citizens and nationals living on U.S. soil have been left behind. While NASA astronaut Kate Rubins cast her ballot last month from the International Space Station, around 350 kilometres above planet Earth, those living in the five American island territories in Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico will not be able to vote to elect their next president. Territorial residents have some of the highest military enlistment rates, yet many have no say when it comes to deciding their next commander-in-chief.

Full Article: Americans can vote from space, so why not from U.S. island territories? - World - CBC News.

Kansas: Judge: Kobach has no authority for dual election system | Lawrence Journal World

State Kris Kobach from implementing a two-tiered voter registration system, ruling Friday that he “simply lacks the authority” to do so. Shawnee County Judge Larry Hendricks’ latest ruling has no impact on Tuesday’s election because the judge had previously temporarily halted the proposed dual system that would have thrown out votes cast by some Kansas voters in state and local elections. Two recent federal court rulings are already forcing Kansas to let these residents vote in federal elections. The American Civil Liberties Union sued Kobach, challenging an administrative rule that had set up a dual voter registration system. Under his proposed system, Kansas residents who registered at motor vehicle offices or used a national form without providing proof of citizenship would have been able to vote only in federal races.

Full Article: Kansas judge: Kobach has no authority for dual election system / LJWorld.com.

Kansas: Federal appeals court: Right to vote constitutionally protected | Topeka Capital Journal

A federal appeals court laid out on Wednesday the legal reasoning behind its decision earlier this month that allowed thousands of Kansas residents to register to vote without providing documents proving their U.S. citizenship. The 85-page opinion from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals came a day after voter registration closed in Kansas for the November election. The appeals court had earlier this month upheld a preliminary injunction that forced Kansas to register people who filled out voter applications at motor vehicle offices. “There can be no dispute that the right to vote is a constitutionally protected fundamental right,” the appeals court wrote. The opinion released Wednesday essentially explained why the appeals court upheld U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson’s preliminary injunction requiring the state to register thousands of people for federal elections. The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several prospective voters and the League of Women Voters.

Full Article: Federal appeals court: Right to vote constitutionally protected | CJOnline.com.

Kansas: Kobach found in default in proof-of-citizenship lawsuit | The Wichita Eagle

The Kansas requirement that voters provide proof of citizenship could be struck down by a federal court because Secretary of State Kris Kobach failed to file a response earlier this year. The state’s requirement that voters provide a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship when they register to vote had already been weakened after federal courts ruled that the state could not require proof of citizenship of people who register at the Department of Motor Vehicles or with the federal form. However, the requirement remained intact for voters who registered using the state form or through the state’s website.

Full Article: Kobach found in default in proof-of-citizenship lawsuit | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Kobach files late response in voter case | The Wichita Eagle

A federal court will decide whether to excuse Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s late filing in a case about the constitutionality of requiring people to prove they are citizens when they register to vote. Kobach filed an 88-page response in a federal lawsuit Tuesday night, hours after being found in default for failing to respond in time to an amended complaint. A spokeswoman for his office said it still must file a motion to set aside the default. The plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a motion to strike Kobach’s late response Wednesday afternoon, contending it was improper because it was not paired with a motion to allow a late filing or set aside the default. “He chose to represent himself in the case, as well as several others, and he has a responsibility to get things filed and filed on time. And at this point, he hasn’t done that,” said Will Lawrence, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. Kobach did not return phone calls about the case on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Full Article: Kobach files late response in voter case | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Court enters default judgment in Kansas voting rights case | Associated Press

A federal court clerk entered a default judgment Tuesday against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach for failing to file a timely response to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law requiring prospective voters to prove they are U.S. citizens. It remains unclear whether U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson will give Kobach more time to respond. If the judgment stands it would apply to all voters in all federal, state and local elections — effectively ending the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirement. Kobach did not immediately return a cellphone message, but spokeswoman Desiree Taliaferro said he would comment.

Full Article: Court enters default judgment in Kansas voting rights case | Political News | US News.

Editorials: Why Proof of Citizenship Won’t Improve Election Integrity | Michael Gilbert/JURIST

For years, states have been sounding the alarm about voter fraud and pushing laws to prevent it. One such law would require voters to prove their citizenship, with a birth certificate, passport, or the like, before casting a ballot. This month a federal court slapped down proof-of-citizenship laws, but not for good. The opinion leaves wiggle room, and state lawmakers are not giving up. They are, however, wasting their effort. Anti-fraud measures can make elections safer in some circumstances, but usually they either have no effect (other than creating red tape) or make matters worse. My research proves it. Let’s get up to speed. In 2004, Arizonans approved an initiative requiring voters to prove their citizenship before they could vote. In 2013, the Supreme Court held [PDF] that federal law—specifically, the National Voter Registration Act—preempted the initiative. That Act requires states to use a form, developed by the federal Election Assistance Commission, to register voters for federal elections. The form requires would-be voters to swear, under penalty of law, that they are US citizens. States can ask the EAC to add state-specific instructions to the federal form, including additional requirements on citizenship, but they cannot demand it. Other states—Alabama, Georgia, Kansas—adopted laws like Arizona’s, and they worked many channels to get them enforced. But their efforts failed. States courts, federal courts [PDF], and the EAC [PDF] put proof of citizenship on ice.

Full Article: JURIST - Why Proof of Citizenship Won't Improve Election Integrity.

Kansas: Kris Kobach keeps fighting, sometimes uphill, for stringent immigration laws | Lawrence Journal World

If there was any question whether the immigration debate is still raging in the heartland, it was probably settled the moment that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach demanded the birth certificate of a 90-year-old World War II pilot. On a stiflingly humid September day in central Kansas, Kobach pushed through the courtroom door, head bowed, a storm cloud on his face. His ever-present red tie, front-swept hair and 2-inch sideburns framed an even jawline. He is a secretary of state here, a man who has authored some of the most stringent immigration legislation in the country — often traveling the nation to argue his own cases — and has cleared a viable path to the governor’s mansion. Behind a lectern facing the judge, an ACLU attorney finished her initial fusillade of oral arguments with a comment directed at Kobach. “He has to use such convoluted reasoning,” said Sophia Lin Larkin, representing a class of voters who the ACLU argued was being treated as second-class citizens in Kobach’s voting system. “This is simply another variation of his mistaken understanding in this case.” Kobach’s understanding of the voting-rights case is an extension of his philosophy on rights accorded to any American: They are conditional offers that only apply to those who can prove their citizenship.

Full Article: Kris Kobach keeps fighting, sometimes uphill, for stringent immigration laws / LJWorld.com.

National: U. S. appeals court leaves proof-of-citizenship voting requirement to federal panel | The Washington Post

A U.S. appeals court panel that barred Kansas, Alabama and Georgia from adding a proof-of-citizenship requirement to a federal voter registration form wrote Monday that federal law leaves it to a federal elections agency — not the states — to determine whether such a change is ­necessary. The 2-to-1 written opinion follows a Sept. 9 order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. ­Circuit. The panel wrote that although the document requirement “unquestionably” hinders voter registration groups ahead of the November elections, there was “precious little” evidence of voter fraud by noncitizens, the problem the states said the measure is intended to fight. The Kansas secretary of state had told the court that “between 2003 and 2015 eighteen noncitizens had tried to or successfully registered to vote. Only one of them attempted to use the Federal Form,” the judges wrote.

Full Article: U. S. appeals court leaves proof-of-citizenship voting requirement to federal panel - The Washington Post.

Kansas: Appeals court rules against Kobach in voting rights case | Associated Press

Thousands of prospective voters in Kansas who did not provide citizenship documents will be able to vote in the November election under a federal appeals court ruling late Friday that upheld a judge’s order. The decision from the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirms lower court’s May order forcing Kansas to register more than 20,000 voters, a number that is expected to swell to 50,000 by the time of the November elections. It noted that the preliminary injunction serves the public interest. The 10th Circuit ruled “no constitutional doubt arises” that federal law prohibits Kansas from requiring citizenship documents from people who register to vote at motor vehicle office. It added that its reasoning would be more fully explained in a forthcoming order.

Full Article: Appeals court rules against Kansas in voting rights case | The Charlotte Observer.

National: Democrats Seek Reversal on Voter Registration Hurdle | NBC

High-ranking congressional Democrats are raising more serious concerns about a move by the director of a federal voting agency that made it easier for several red states to require documentary proof of citizenship from people registering to vote. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Rep. Robert A. Brady and Rep. James E. Clyburn urged the Election Assistance Commission in a letter sent Wednesday to formally rescind a change made in January to the instructions on the federal voter registration form for Kansas, Georgia and Alabama, which allowed those states to require citizenship proof. A federal court found this month that the move, which was carried out unilaterally by the agency’s executive director, Brian Newby, could disenfranchise large numbers of eligible voters. Ruling that the move may violate federal voting law, the court blocked it from being enforced pending a resolution of the case. The letter outlines what the lawmakers called “troubling findings” from their probe into the issue — among them, that Newby conducted no written analysis of the impact of the change, and that he himself may no longer be certain that it was legal.

Full Article: Dems Seek Reversal on Voter Registration Hurdle - NBC News.

Kansas: Judge extends order to ensure thousands can vote in November | The Wichita Eagle

A Shawnee County judge has issued an order that should ensure that thousands of people are able to vote in state and local elections this November. Judge Larry Hendricks previously issued a preliminary order that people who registered to vote at the DMV could vote in the August primary regardless of whether they had provided proof of citizenship. He has now extended that order through the Nov. 8 general election. He has also amended his order to require that Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the defendant in the case, ensure that these 18,000 voters are given timely notice by local election offices that they qualify to vote in federal, state and local races in the general election. Kobach will face a contempt hearing this week in a separate federal case over allegations that he has failed to ensure these voters are registered and informed of their status.

Full Article: Kansas judge extends order to ensure thousands can vote in November | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Judge extends voting rights for those registered at motor vehicle offices | Reuters

A Kansas judge extended voting rights through the Nov. 8 election of about 17,500 people who registered to vote at motor vehicle offices, court documents showed on Tuesday in one of the cases highlighting a political battle over identification laws enacted in Republican-led states. The ruling impacts people who submitted voter applications through Kansas motor vehicle offices but failed to provide proof of U.S. citizenship. The ruling by Judge Larry Hendricks of the third judicial court in Shawnee, Kansas, extends the temporary injunction he issued last month. Under a state law that took effect in 2013, they were required to present a document such as a birth certificate. The judge’s ruling made on Friday said that the Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, must instruct election officials to allow the around 17,500 residents to “…vote for all offices on the ballot and to count all the votes cast on that ballot.”

Full Article: Kansas judge extends voting rights for those registered at motor vehicle offices | Reuters.