Government
11:05 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Nancy Pelosi And Other Democratic Lawmakers Urge Federal Court To Overturn Voter Citizenship Law

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers are urging a federal appeals court to overturn a decision by U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren. They say it will limit the authority of Congress to regulate federal elections.

They made a friend-of-the-court filing last week at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals...in a lawsuit filed by Kansas and Arizona to force federal elections officials to let those states impose their proof-of-citizenship requirements on federal voter registration forms used by residents of their states.

Both states argue the requirements prevent voter fraud by thwarting voting by non citizens.

Critics of the law say it will suppress voter turnout.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said, “Many states are watching whether Kansas and Arizona will prevail in our efforts to require proof of citizenship when people register.”

The states say the availability of a federal form - which requires only that people attest under penalty of perjury that they are citizens - creates a “massive loophole” in enforcing their voter proof-of-citizenship laws.

Pelosi and seven other Democratic lawmakers argued in their filing that the lower court’s ruling could derail Congress’ efforts to identify and remove unnecessary barriers to voting in federal elections.

The lawmakers also contend the ruling calls into question the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

Kansas and Arizona are seeking in their lawsuit to force the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to change its federal voter registration form for those states to include special instructions requiring citizenship documentation.

In March, U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren sided with them and ordered the commission to immediately modify its forms, but the 10th Circuit put that ruling on hold after the federal government appealed.

At issue is whether the federal government or states have ultimate authority to regulate voter registration.

An appeals panel will hear oral arguments Aug. 25.