KANSAS, GEORGIA & ALABAMA
Proof of Citizenship for Voter Registration (2016)
In late July 2016, FELN filed an amicus brief as part of a suit over changes to the national mail voter registration form. The suit, League of Women Voters vs. Newby, is a challenge to the inclusion of three states’ proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration using the National Mail Voter Registration Form. FELN wrote in support of Appellants — a group of voters and voter registration groups — who have opposed the Election Assistance Commission’s Executive Director’s unlawful changes to the federal registration form. FELN argued that the D.C. Circuit panel should order the immediate removal of the documentary proof of citizenship requirements from the federal form’s instructions for Kansas, Alabama and Georgia, and order that all those who were unlawfully rejected since February be added to the voter rolls. The amicus brief further argues that Supreme Court precedent on the timing of remedies in voting rights cases like this is no barrier to ordering an immediate return to the status quo that held for over two decades — no requirement on the Federal Form to provide documentary proof of citizenship.
On September 9, 2016, the D.C. Circuit panel — by a vote of 2 to 1 — ordered the immediate removal of the proof of citizenship requirements from the Federal Form and ordered Kansas, Georgia and Alabama to register any applicants who submitted the Federal Form without proof of citizenship.