Project Vote Moves to Appeal Ruling in Proof of Citizenship Case

By Michael Slater March 28, 2014

On March 19, a U.S. District Judge issued a ruling in Kris W. Kobach et al. v. United States Election Assistance Commission, requiring the EAC to fulfill requests from Kansas and Arizona to add those states’ documentary proof-of-citizenship requirements to the state-specific instructions of the federal voter registration form. Yesterday, Project Vote joined with ally organizations in announcing we would appeal this ruling.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) created a universal federal form in order to streamline and simplify voter registration. For 20 years the federal form has not required documentary proof of citizenship: applicants simply attest to their eligibility, including citizenship, under penalty of perjury, and the election officials oversee who is added to the rolls.

In January, the EAC denied requests from Arizona, Kansas, and Georgia to add state-specific proof-of-citizenship instructions, noting that they would “likely hinder eligible citizens from registering to vote in federal elections.” However, last week, a federal district judge in Kansas reversed that decision—despite the fact that the states have not demonstrated any evidence that the federal form has ever resulted in a single individual illegally registering or voting.

The NVRA was passed to make voter registration easier for all Americans; states like Arizona and Kansas must not now be allowed to erect new barriers that make it harder. Project Vote is proud to join the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LULAC-Arizona, MALDEF, and others in continuing this fight to ensure that all eligible citizens can rely on the NVRA’s simple process for voter registration.

Project Vote is represented by the law firm of Arnold and Porter LLP and the Thompson Law Firm, LLC, which are providing their services pro bono in the case.