A new ruling by a federal judge now paves the way for states to ask for recently registered voters to prove their citizenship before receiving a ballot.
U.S. District Court Judge Eric F. Melgren ruled on March 19 that Kansas and Arizona are empowered by the U.S. Constitution to require new voters to verify their citizenship with official documents such as birth certificates or passports.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a federal agency created by the Help America Vote Act in the wake of the 2000 presidential election, which opposed the state laws mandating such a citizenship verification, must now add these state-specific requirements to its mail-in voter registration forms.
In his ruling, Judge Melgren wrote: “The court finds the decision of the EAC denying the states’ requests to be unlawful and in excess of its statutory authority.” While the EAC must amend its actions immediately, a vindicated but cautious Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach noted that “[t]he only unknown is what the Obama Justice Department decides to do next.”
The secretaries of state for the two states sued the Commission last year. Arizona enacted a citizenship requirement in 2004, and Kansas enacted a similar one in 2013. Alabama and George also have similar laws but were not part of the case decided by Judge Melgren.
Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network applauded Judge Melgren’s ruling, calling it a confirmation of the sensibility and legality of commonsense protections of the rights of lawful voters and sanctity of their ballots.
Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper, a former professor of constitutional law and former congressional leadership staff member, added:
Yesterday’s federal court decision acknowledging the fundamental rights of state governments to verify whether new voter registrants are in fact citizens is sound.
It’s a setback to those who obviously want to “flood the zone” on Election Day with ghost voters — nullifying law-abiding citizens.
In the 2013 decision in the case of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council, the U.S. Supreme Court signaled that the federal U.S. Election Assistance Commission operates to assist states in their registration efforts and not to dictate the terms of those efforts.
Judge Melgren’s ruling on the rights of state governments in Kansas and Arizona affirms their actions and will likely lead to a number of other states adopting similar provisions.
Project 21 member Christopher Arps, a founder of the Move-On-Up.org black conservative social networking site, added:
This important and positive voting rights ruling makes two very basic points.
One is that proving you are a citizen of the United States in order to vote is a real no-brainer and legal to ask. This extra bit of protection is especially important when someone registers to vote by mail.
Second, it unmasks the true agenda of partisans who want to allow anyone with a pulse, especially those who belong to a constituent group tending to skew liberal, to vote without reasonably questioning their legitimacy to cast that vote.
In this age of political correctness and thought police, it’s refreshing to see cases when the rule of law and good old-fashioned common sense is upheld.
Project 21 co-chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, looking to the future expansion of this basic polling place protection, said:
This decision is a great step in the right direction for states to maintain voter integrity and fight election fraud.
Hopefully, other states will now also feel free to enact similar standards and expect the same support from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to ensure that national voter registration forms are as fraud-proof as possible.
It is the duty of our government to ensure that elections are fair and equitable for all U.S. citizens.
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