Feds Reject New Barriers to Voter Registration Requested by Three States

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014

Yesterday, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) denied requests from Arizona, Kansas, and Georgia to change the National Mail Voter Registration Form (the Federal Form) that would require new voter registration applicants to provide additional proof of U.S. citizenship.

"The true intent behind these states' requested change was to disenfranchise eligible citizens, most of whom would be citizens of color," said Jerry Vattamala, staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). "Arizona, Kansas, and Georgia have histories of discrimination against Asian Americans. No other state requires such arduous requirements and the states requesting the change had not produced any evidence of non-citizens registering to vote."

The EAC decision cites to arguments advanced by AALDEF in its public submission to the EAC against altering the Federal Form, which was established as part of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Congress enacted the NVRA to promote voter registration and to specifically eliminate state-imposed voting requirements that disproportionately harmed voter participation by racial minorities. The request by Arizona, Georgia, and Kansas was at odds with the very purpose of the NVRA and was correctly denied.

The EAC's decision follows the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last June striking down Arizona's illegal voter registration law.

"When Arizona, Kansas, and Georgia submitted requests for additional proof of citizenship, they claimed that they wanted to protect the integrity of elections. By denying their requests, that is exactly what the EAC has done," said Vattamala.

View the decision >>