Non-Citizen Voting Case Pits Justice Department Against States that Require Proof-of-Citizenship

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By Hans von Spakovsky

The free-for-all boxing match between the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Kansas, and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) resumed on Wednesday, March 9.

They’re tussling over the right of states to require proof-of-citizenship from people using the federal voter registration form.

In Courtroom 18 of the D.C. federal courthouse, Judge Richard Leon presided over a sometimes contentious hearing on the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction that would rescind the Election Assistance Commission’s change of the instructions on the federal voter registration form to accommodate a request by Kansas. The Sunflower State wants the form to note that Kansans wishing to register must meet a proof-of-citizenship requirement.

At the first hearing in this case on Feb. 22, Leon refused to grant a temporary restraining order requested by the League of Women Voters and the NAACP, the plaintiffs who don’t want the Election Assistance Commission to mention proof-of-citizenship.

Justice Department Unwilling to Defend Election Assistance Commission

Normally, the Justice Department would be expected to defend the Election Assistance Commission in court. Instead, the Justice Department lawyers tried to throw the case by agreeing to a temporary restraining order. Leon expressed astonishment at the Department of Justice’s behavior, calling it “unprecedented” and “extraordinary.”

Rather than take that as a warning about the Department of Justice’s potentially unethical and unprofessional behavior in refusing to carry out its duty to defend its client, the Federal Programs Branch came into this week’s hearing once again trying to lose the case.

Read more of ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky’s Daily Signal article.

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