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  • BAD DECISION ON PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP WILL HURT VOTERS

    “U.S. District Judge ruling does not follow Supreme Court roadmap in ITCA,” says League

    Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. District Court for Kansas issued a ruling in Kobach v. U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that approves the documentary proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration by the states of Arizona and Kansas, saying it is not preempted by the federal National Voter Registration Act. Previously, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) that such a requirement is preempted by the federal law, but left room for further consideration of additional issues. The Leagues of Women Voters of the United States, Arizona and Kansas submitted a merits brief to the court as defendant-interveners in this case.

    “This decision is profoundly disappointing,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “The judge didn't follow the roadmap laid out by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Arizona v. ITCA decision, which allowed for consideration of new factual and constitutional issues. Instead, the court chose to reopen the issue of federal preemption by questioning the actions of the EAC in rejecting the Arizona and Kansas requests to modify the National Mail Voter Registration Form.

    “The decision is so broad that it would allow a state to implement almost any restriction on voter registration,” said MacNamara.

    “It is a harsh decision that will hurt voters for no real reason,” MacNamara said. “The court made an incorrect legal decision, and we are confident it will be overturned.”

    League leaders in Arizona and Kansas also reacted with disapproval at the court’s decision. Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer, president of the League of Women Voters of Arizona, vowed to “continue working to protect the rights of all Arizona voters.”

    Dolores Furtado, president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas, said “we have experienced first-hand the harmful effects that documentary proof of citizenship requirements have had on new voter applicants and voter service organizations, like ours, in Kansas.”

    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 the requests made by the Secretaries of State of Arizona and Kansas. Previously the League filed a motion and was allowed to intervene in the Kobach case.

    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.

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

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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.

  • 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. 

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  •  ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION (EAC) REJECTS KANSAS, ARIZONA REQUEST TO CHANGE NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FORM

    League Applauds EAC Decision: “This Ruling Protects Voters and Voting Rights”

     Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters of the U.S., Arizona and Kansas applauded yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to reject requests from the states of Arizona and Kansas to modify the national mail-in voter registration form to require voters to provide documentary proof of citizenship with that form.

    “This is the correct decision by the EAC, plain and simple,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “This ruling is consistent with the U.S. Constitution and one that reinforces critical protections for voters and voting rights.”

    “The Arizona and Kansas requests are at odds with the very purpose and goals of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA),” added MacNamara. “The NVRA was enacted in order to provide for a simple voter registration form, promote national uniformity in the voter registration process, increase voter registration and participation, and facilitate large-scale voter registration drives by groups like the League.”

    Earlier this month, 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.

    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.

    “We are very pleased with the EAC's decision because the assertions 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).

    “The Kansas League is delighted with this ruling,” said Dolores Furtado, President of the League of Women Voters of Kansas (LWVKS). “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. This decision protects Kansas voters.”

    “The League has worked tirelessly to remove barriers from voting and advocate on behalf of the voting rights of all Americans,” MacNamara concluded. “This decision is another important win for voters and voting rights.”

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

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    Like” the League on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter: @LWV.

    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.

  • American Flag

    Last month, we told you that the League of Women Voters of the United States joined with the League of Women Voters of Kansas and the League of Women Voters of Arizona to file a motion to intervene in a lawsuit between

  • Protect My Vote! rally sign

    The League’s Public Advocacy for Voter Protection Project is now entering its’ eighth year of working to stop voter suppression and ensure voting is free, fair and accessible to all eligible voters. Over the years we have seen a steady increase in voter suppression across the country.

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