Archive for Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kansas in the crosshairs of Pelosi’s federal appeals court filing

June 15, 2014

— House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top lawmakers have urged a federal appeals court to overturn a decision by a judge in Kansas that they say would limit the authority of Congress to regulate federal elections and derail its ability to pass legislation protecting the right to vote.

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

Both states argue the requirements prevent voter fraud by thwarting voting by noncitizens. Critics of such laws view them as suppressing voter turnout. But both sides agree the potential impacts of the case could extend to other states.

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

The states contend 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 and maintaining the integrity of their elections.

Pelosi and seven other Democratic lawmakers argued in their June 3 court filing that the lower court’s ruling, if left standing, 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.


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