Election Assistance Commission ED Acted Illegally

Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters of the U.S. and its Alabama, Georgia and Kansas affiliates filed suit today in federal district court to stop the recent illegal action by the Executive Director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that allows these states to restrict voter registration.

“Voters should not have to face an obstacle course to participate and vote,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “The recent decision by EAC Executive Director Brian Newby is simply contrary to federal law and we expect it to be overturned.”

Acting unilaterally, Mr. Newby recently approved requests from Alabama, Georgia and Kansas to require documentary proof of citizenship when an applicant uses the federal mail voter registration application form. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires the full commission itself to vote on any changes, but Mr. Newby ignored that obligation.  

“What Mr. Newby did was illegal. His decision allowing these changes to the state-specific instructions on the federal form goes against the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in Kobach v. EAC,” said MacNamara.  

The League operates one of the longest-running and largest nonpartisan voter registration efforts in the nation. “We know from experience that this action, if allowed to stand, will undermine our efforts and make it harder for voters,” she said. 

“This is now the fifth time that the EAC has been pushed to give a different answer to the same question,” MacNamara said. “Enough is enough. They can keep coming back but we will not tire of making sure they continue to fail.”

“We had hoped that a reconstituted EAC would focus on improving election administration. This action by the executive director would make the election system worse. His action challenges the impartiality of the commission,” according to MacNamara.

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Contact:

Kelly Ceballos, 202-321-3758, kceballos@lwv.org