Court Approves Citizenship Proof in Kansas and Arizona for Voters
On Wednesday, a federal judge sided with the state governments of Kansas and Arizona, ruling that the Election Assistance Commission from the federal government had to help the states enforce their laws that require proof of citizenship to vote.
The state sued the federal commission after it had deferred requests for both to help them to change their forms for voter registration to include the new requirements such as a passport, birth certificate or other forms of documentation that proves citizenship in the U.S.
Critics of Kansas and Arizona law say very little voter fraud exists, especially for non-citizens attempting to vote. A study by the Brennan Center for Justice found only 7% of Americans do not have birth certificates and that voter groups are worried that it makes it more difficult for the poor, older residents, new citizens and college students that are resident in other states to obtain the proof needed in time to cast their votes.
Democratic state senator Steve Gallardo from Arizona said the laws, which were Republican-led had been intended to lower the amount of younger voters and those who were possibly more progressive.
These voters, said Gallardo, are more active and tend to be more liberal and progressive, particularly when it deals with issues such as same-sex marriage, medical marijuana and other issues that are progressive like.
In addition, voter groups covering the nation voiced opinions. The President of the League of Women Voters, Elisabeth MacNamara said the decision was too broad and would allow a state the right to implement nearly any restriction it wanted on voter registration.
However, Chris Kobach, an architect of the SB10780 restrictive immigration law in Arizona as well as the voter law, said it was an important and big decision and that Kansas had opened the door for the rest of the states to enact requirements of proof of citizenship to vote.
Approximately 15,000 residents in Kansas have had voter registrations suspended due to a lack of documentation that proves they are U.S. citizens, according to a report in a Kansas daily.