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National: Emails show Kobach crafting changes to federal voting law after Trump win | The Wichita Eagle

Kansas Secretary of Kris Kobach was developing federal legislation immediately after the November election to “make clear” that proof of citizenship voter registration requirements – like what Kansas has – would be permitted nationwide. Emails contained in court filings on Friday show that the day after the presidential election Kobach was already preparing changes to the National Voter Registration Act, commonly called the motor voter law, for the future administration of President Donald Trump. Kobach, who announced a bid for Kansas governor in June, began a Nov. 9 email by referencing draft legislation for submission to Congress early in the Trump administration. “I have already started regarding amendments to the NVRA to make clear that proof of citizenship requirements are permitted (based on my ongoing litigation with the ACLU over this), as well as legislation to stop the dozen states that are providing instate tuition to illegal aliens in violation of (federal law),” Kobach wrote. Read More

National: Voter fraud commission worries civil rights advocates | McClatchy

President Donald Trump’s election fraud commission is coming under fire not only for requesting mass amounts of voter information but also for including two key members who have been accused of championing legislation that would suppress voter participation along partisan lines. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was appointed the vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity after Trump signed an executive order in May. … “We all agree American elections need to be secure,” said Sophia Lin Lakin, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “What we’re looking into here is to ensure … all of the information is being considered under the light.” Kobach, who launched his campaign for governor of Kansas last month, has supported Trump’s unfounded claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. Read More

National: Advocates Worry Trump Administration Wants To Revamp Motor Voter Law | NPR

Lost in the uproar last week over a written request by a White House commission for state voter registration lists was another letter sent that same day. It came from the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ), and asked states for details on how they’re complying with a requirement in the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) — also known as the motor-voter law — that election officials keep their voting lists accurate and up to date. The timing and focus of the two letters — one from the commission and the other from DOJ — has made some voter advocacy groups nervous about what the Trump administration is up to, and whether its ultimate goal is to weaken or revamp the motor voter law. “It’s very concerning,” said Brenda Wright, vice president of policy and legal strategies at Demos, a liberal advocacy group that’s been fighting state efforts to purge voters from the rolls. Wright notes that the main purpose of the motor voter law is to expand opportunities to register to vote, but that millions of eligible Americans are still unregistered. Read More

National: Justice Department Request For State Voter Information Follows Similar Kobach Query | KCUR

Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice are asking states including Kansas for information related to the National Voter Registration Act — a move made the same day that the president’s commission on voter fraud sent a request for “publicly available voter roll data.” In a letter sent June 28, Justice Department officials requested data on how states purge registrations of people who have died or moved. The letter seeks information to confirm that states are complying with federal law and keeping voting lists updated. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on the same day sent requests for voter registration information to all states in his role as vice chairman of President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud. Numerous states have said they will not provide some or all of the information that Kobach requested. Read More

National: This DOJ Letter May Be More Alarming Than Trump Commission’s Request For Voter Data | HuffPost

Former Department of Justice officials and voting advocates are seriously alarmed over a DOJ letter sent to states last week that they say could signal a forthcoming effort to kick people off voter rolls. This comes as national attention focuses on several states blocking a request for voter information from President Donald Trump’s commission to investigate voting fraud, which does occur, but is not a widespread problem. The DOJ sent the letter to 44 states last Wednesday, the same day the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter controversially requesting personal voter information. The DOJ letter requests that election officials respond by detailing their compliance with a section of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which covers 44 states and was enacted to help people register to vote, but also specifies when voters may be kicked off the rolls.  Several experts said it’s difficult not to see the DOJ letter in connection with the commission’s letter as part of a multipronged effort to restrict voting rights.  Read More

Georgia: State Sued Over Alleged Voter Suppression | Law Street

Ever since it was announced that Donald J. Trump was going to be the 45th President of these United States of America, Democrats have been looking to attach themselves to any kind of competition to gain some kind of payback for their defeat (See: Super Bowl LI). Although it didn’t result in an explicit victory, this past Tuesday’s special election for Georgia’s House seat in its Sixth District offered Democrats their first viable taste of victory and vengeance. Wednesday’s special election resulted in Democrat Jon Ossoff narrowly missing out on the 50 percent of the vote that he needed to win the contest outright, thus making a run-off between Ossoff and top GOP vote-getter Karen Handel necessary. The details of the run-off, scheduled for June 20, have already become the subject of controversy and, now, a lawsuit. Read More

Voting Blogs: 15 States File Amicus Brief Seeking Clarification on NVRA, Non-Voting and List Maintenance | Election Academy

Fifteen states have filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to hear a case in order to clarify if and how states may use evidence of non-voting as a factor in removing voters from the rolls. The question stems from an Ohio case I wrote about last April. There, plaintiffs challenged the state’s “supplemental process” for list maintenance, which uses failure to vote over a two-year period as a trigger for mailings seeking confirmation that the voter still wishes to vote. The allegation is that the use of non-voting as a trigger violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which expressly prohibits the removal of voters simply for failure to vote. Read More

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.” Read More

Editorials: What’s the Matter with Kansas: The Voting Edition | Ciara Torres-Spelliscy/Jurist

Here’s the background of the Newby case. Kansas, Georgia and Alabama have been trying to make voting harder for voters through a series of restrictive voter ID laws. Another approach of these states has deployed is forcing voters to produce documentary evidence that they are American citizens when they register to vote. Asking for documentary proof of citizenship may sound reasonable enough, at first blush, but this runs afoul of the federal “motor voter” law which bars states from asking for additional information when voters register to vote using a standard federal form. The whole point of the motor voter law (whose formal name is National Voter Registration Act of 1993), was to make it easier for eligible Americans to register to vote when they were at the local DMV. While the legislators who pass these restrictive voting laws may think they are barring non-citizens from voting, instead these laws can disenfranchise regular Americans, especially those who were born at home instead of a hospital. These Americans may find it difficult, or well neigh impossible, to produce documentation of their birth proving that they are who they know they are: American citizens. Read More

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. Read More