Voting rights groups filed an appeal Friday of a judge’s order that federal election officials must help Kansas and Arizona enforce state laws requiring new voters to provide documentation proving their U.S. citizenship. A court filing sent to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals challenges a ruling earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita. Melgren had ordered the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to immediately modify a national voter registration form to add special instructions requiring proof of citizenship for Kansas and Arizona residents. The appeal was filed by more than a dozen voting rights groups and individuals who had earlier intervened in the case on behalf of the election commission. They include the League of Women Voters of the United States, Project Vote Inc., Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Common Cause, Arizona Advocacy Network, League of United Latin American Citizens Arizona, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, Chicanos Por La Causa and others.
The national president of the League of Women Voters, Elisabeth MacNamara, said the U.S. Supreme Court has already found that the National Voter Registration Act pre-empts state law requiring documentary proof of citizenship, and that Melgren’s ruling is contrary to the Supreme Court decision handed down last year.
“What we believe the judge got it wrong and the judge did not follow the roadmap set out by the Supreme Court in making this decision,” MacNamara said.
In a late court filing Friday, the voting rights groups also asked Melgren to stay his own order pending their appeal, arguing that they are likely to succeed in their appeal because his ruling misconstrues the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act and the Supreme Court’s decision. They argued citizens would suffer widespread and irreparable harm by disenfranchisement and other barriers to voter registration, which will disproportionately affect minorities and the poor.
Full Article: News from The Associated Press.