Arizona and Kansas sue over voter registration law

The states want to require proof of citizenship before voting, which the Supreme Court blocked in Arizona this year

By Jillian Rayfield

Published August 22, 2013 2:21PM (EDT)

Arizona and Kansas are suing the Obama administration to force prospective voters to show proof of citizenship before voting, following a Supreme Court decision striking down an Arizona law that required it.

Reuters reports:

The lawsuit brought by the two Republican-led states accuses an agency of President Barack Obama's Democratic administration of preventing them from enforcing state laws that require proof of citizenship as a way to prevent illegal immigrants from voting.

The suit, part of an on-going battle over voter registration laws being waged nationwide, demands that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission modify federal voter registration forms to allow states to require proof of citizenship.

The 1993 National Voter Registration Act established a federal voter registration form that requires a pledge of citizenship, but does not require any documentation. In 2004, Arizona voters approved a referendum to require hard proof of citizenship, but the Supreme Court struck down the provision in June, on the grounds that the federal law overrides the state law.

However, in the majority opinion for the Court, Antonin Scalia left the door open for states to challenge the constitutionality of the current NVRA form itself. “Arizona may, however, request anew that the [Election Assistance Commission] include such a requirement among the Federal Form’s state-specific instructions, and may seek judicial review of the EAC’s decision under the Administrative Procedure Act," he wrote.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Arizona Kansas Undocumented Immigrants Voter Fraud Voter Registration Fraud