COURT HEARS APPEAL ON ARIZONA, KANSAS PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENTS FOR VOTER REGISTRATION

“EAC ruling was well-reasoned and correct – protects voters,” says League

Washington, DC – Today, there was a hearing in the U.S. District Court for Kansas to determine if the actions of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), denying requests from Arizona and Kansas to modify the National Mail Voter Registration Form by requiring voters to present documentary proof of citizenship, were legally correct. The Leagues of Women Voters of the U.S., Arizona and Kansas submitted a merit brief to the court as defendant-interveners in this case.

“The EAC was correct in rejecting requests from Arizona and Kansas to modify the Federal voter registration form by requiring applicants produce documentary proof of citizenship,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.

“The EAC based its well-reasoned, 46-page decision on the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), the rules and regulations implementing the Federal Form, and established precedent, including the earlier denial of Arizona’s identical request nearly a decade ago,” she said.

“The sole issue on appeal before this court is whether the EAC acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying those requests. And the answer is plainly, No,” said MacNamara.

“We have experienced first-hand the harmful effects that documentary proof of citizenship requirements have had on voters and voter service organizations like ours in Kansas,” said Dolores Furtado, president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas (LWVKS). The EAC decision is the right one and one that protects Kansas voters.”

“We stand firm behind the EAC's decision because the claims by our Secretary of State regarding registration and voting by ineligible persons in Arizona do not stand up to scrutiny and do not support the changes they are trying to make to the form,” said Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer, president of the League of Women Voters of Arizona (LWVAZ).

“This is the correct decision by the EAC, plain and simple. This ruling is consistent with the U.S. Constitution and reinforces critical protections for voters and voting rights,” concluded MacNamara.

Earlier this year, the League of Women Voters of the United States joined with the League of Women Voters of Arizona and the League of Women Voters of Kansas to file comments with the EAC regarding these requests made by the Secretaries of State of Arizona and Kansas. Previously the League filed a motion and was allowed to intervene in Kobach, et al v. U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The League is represented in this case by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, as well as pro bono counsel Kirkland & Ellis LLP and David G. Seely of the law firm Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch, LLC.

“Kansas and Arizona are trying to undermine basic federal protections of the right to vote that have helped Americans register for more than 20 years,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “We urge the federal court to ensure all eligible voters can make their voices heard at the ballot box.”

Last year, the Supreme Court held in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., that Arizona’s requirement that voter registrants provide documentary proof-of-citizenship was preempted by the NVRA with respect to applicants using the Federal Form. Kansas and Arizona seek to overturn that court decision.

Contact: Kelly Ceballos, kceballos@lwv.org, 202-263-1331

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The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.