- Associated Press - Thursday, May 29, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - An attorney for a federal election agency has a proposed a quick court schedule this summer to determine whether the federal government has to accommodate Kansas’ rules for requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote.

The Wichita Eagle reports (https://bit.ly/1mK6nT7 ) that acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels proposed the schedule in court filings made Tuesday with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Samuels encouraged the court to hold oral arguments as early as July 21 or as late as Sept. 8, which could still allow the court to issue a ruling before the Oct. 14 voter registration deadline in Kansas.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and his Arizona counterparts are seeking to force the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to change its federal voter registration form to include special instructions for those states requiring citizenship documentation. Several voters’ rights groups, including the League of Women Voters, have been allowed to submit arguments in opposition to the two states.

In March, a federal judge agreed and ordered the commission to immediately modify its forms, but the 10th Circuit put that ruling on hold in early May.

The court has not said when it will hear the case and isn’t likely to set a time until after Kobach files his arguments.

Samuels said in her argument that Kansas and Arizona “failed to demonstrate any substantial problem of noncitizens registering to vote using the existing federal form, let alone one that justifies imposing a considerable burden on voter registration efforts.”

In addition to Samuels‘ document, the voting-rights groups filed their own documents with the court, saying the proof-of-citizenship requirement interferes with registration efforts by creating additional work for volunteers to collect and copy necessary documentation.

“One League chapter in Kansas went from helping over 300 voters register in 2012 to under 40 in all of 2013,” the document said.

As of Wednesday, the Kansas secretary of state office reported that approximately 17,800 voter registration applications were on hold because they haven’t complied with the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirement.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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