Judicial Watch, AEF File Brief Supporting Arizona, Kansas Efforts to Require Proof of Citizenship on Voter Registration Forms
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has joined with the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) to file an amicus curiae brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in support of Arizona’s and Kansas’ efforts to add proof of citizenship requirements to a federal voter registration form (Kris W. Kobach, et al., v. U. S. Election Assistance Commission, et al., (Nos. 14-3062, 14-3072)).
The states are being opposed by the Federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which is appealing a lower court order requiring the EAC to allow the states to add the proof of citizenship requirements.
In August 2013, the states of Kansas and Arizona filed a complaint against the EAC asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to force the agency to require proof of citizenship in the state-specific instructions on the National Mail Voter Registration Form (the Federal Form). On March 19, 2014, the District Court ruled that the EAC must change the federal registration form to allow the states to require documentary proof. The EAC, along with the other interveners, appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and on May 19, the Tenth Circuit stayed the District Court’s order.
In their amicus brief, Judicial Watch and AEF argue that if granted, the appeal “would have a chilling effect on voter confidence in the integrity of elections in Kansas and Arizona, as well as nationwide.” The amicus contends, “The U.S. Election Assistance Commission – apparently uninterested in federal law enforcement – now seeks to prevent states from enforcing their own lawfully enacted statutes designed to ensure that voter-qualification laws are followed.”
Judicial Watch and AEF also make the following arguments in their amicus brief:
- The NVRA Protects Election Integrity, Which is Necessary for the Nation to Have Confidence in the Legitimacy of its Elected Leaders
The NVRA is not a statute solely focused on ballot access, as the EAC wrongly implies throughout its decision. Rather, the NVRA reflects a compromise designed both to increase lawful voter registration and to increase the integrity of elections by ensuring that voter rolls are accurate and contain only eligible voters … It is necessary for states to restore the American public’s confidence that elections are honest by enforcing election integrity laws … A poll from August of 2013 reported that only 39% of Americans believe elections are fair.
- The EAC’s Decision Ignores the Election Integrity Language and Purpose of the NVRA
The EAC barely considers the NVRA’s emphasis on election integrity and voter confidence, using the words “integrity” and “confidence” only once each in its entire 46-page opinion … By ignoring the other purposes of the statute, the EAC adopts a lopsided approach that treats disenfranchisement by fraud and the loss of public confidence in elections as irrelevant.
- Even Low Levels of Noncitizen Registration and Voting Disenfranchise U.S. Voters and Can Alter the Outcome of Elections
According to a report from U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012 there were approximately 22 million noncitizens (both lawfully and unlawfully present) in the U.S. out of a total population of 311 million. This means that roughly 6 percent of the U.S. population lacks citizenship – or about 1 in 17 people. It is well established, moreover, that Arizona has one of the highest non-citizen populations in the United States, and Kansas, in part due to particular industries in the south-western part of the state, also has a sizable noncitizen population. In light of these facts, for the EAC to deem these states’ precautions as “unnecessary” strains the meaning of the word.
“Once again, states are being forced to fight the Obama administration in order to insure the integrity of the electoral process,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Supreme Court, in its Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona decision, has already ruled that states are free to petition the EAC to add the proof of citizenship requirement. But, as usual, the Obama administration would bully states from protecting election integrity than abide by the law. Given the current border crisis, proof of citizenship to vote is an issue that is more relevant than ever.”
The Allied Educational Foundation is a charitable and educational foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life through education. In furtherance of that goal, the Foundation has engaged in a number of projects which include, but are not limited to, educational and health conferences domestically and abroad. AEF has frequently partnered with Judicial Watch to fight government and judicial corruption.