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10th Circuit Panel Unanimously Rejects Kansas SOS Arguments Regarding Proof of Citizenship

10th Circuit Panel Unanimously Rejects Kansas SOS Arguments Regarding Proof Of Citizenship

On October 19, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit heard an Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Kansas (D.C. No. 2:16-CV-02105-JAR-JPO).

Kris W. Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas and Garrett R. Roe, from Kansas Secretary of the State’s Office, Topeka, Kansas, were with him on the brief representing, Kansas Secretary of State’s Office, Topeka, Kansas, for Defendant-Appellant.

In this case, the Court must resolve whether Section 5 of the National Voter Registration Act (the “NVRA”), 52 U.S.C. § 20504, preempts a Kansas law requiring documentary proof of citizenship (“DPOC”) for Voter Registration, as applied to the Federally mandated Voter Registration form that must be a part of any application to obtain or renew a driver’s license (the “motor voter” process).

Section 5 of the NVRA mandates that states include a Voter Registration form as part of the application for a driver’s license, and provides that this Voter Registration form may require only the minimum amount of information necessary to prevent duplicate registrations and to enable State Election officials to assess the eligibility of the applicant and to administer Voter Registration and other parts of the Election process.

Section 5 further mandates that motor voter forms include the following: a statement of the criteria for eligibility, including citizenship; an attestation that the applicant meets those criteria; and the applicant’s signature under penalty of perjury.

There is no question that Kansas’s interest in ensuring that not a single non-citizen
(or an insubstantial number of them) should vote is in tension with the right to vote of over 18,000 Kansans. Kansas’s interest is also in tension with the registration procedures that Congress required in the NVRA.

Congress has spoken clearly by ensuring that whatever else the states do, “a simple means of registering to vote in Federal Elections will be available.”

The registration requirements set forth by Congress in the NVRA requirements designed to, increase the number of eligible voters who register and vote, demonstrate Congress’s determination that the public interest in the widespread exercise of the franchise trumps the narrower interest of ensuring that not a single non-citizen votes (or an insubstantial number of them).

Indeed, as the District Court observed, exceedingly few non-citizens have been shown to have voted compared to the number of Kansans who stand to lose the right to vote in the coming Elections. The public interest in broad exercise of the right to vote will be furthered rather than harmed by the District Court’s injunction.

The Court's conclusion:

Based on the foregoing, we AFFIRM the District Court’s grant of a preliminary
injunction and REMAND the case for further proceedings not inconsistent with this

CLICK HERE to read the 85 page (PDF) opinion.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


This post first appeared on The Independent View, please read the originial post: here

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10th Circuit Panel Unanimously Rejects Kansas SOS Arguments Regarding Proof of Citizenship