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US court blocks proof of citizenship requirement for voting

/ 09:02 PM September 16, 2016

VotingRights

WASHINGTON, DC – A federal appeals court has blocked the states of Kansas, Alabama and Georgia from adding proof-of-citizenship requirements to the federal mail voter registration form.

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In blocking the proof-of-citizenship requirements, the two-judge majority noted that an injunction was in the “public interest” and agreed that implementing the requirements would cause “irreparable harm.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction only one day after hearing oral argument in the case.

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The League of Women Voters sued Brian D. Newby, executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, to prevent the proof-of-citizenship requirements from taking effect. Advancing Justice (AAJC) and 16 other civil rights and voting groups filed an amicus brief, explaining how the challenged requirements disenfranchise voters.

The AAJC-led amicus brief points out that citizens in traditionally disadvantaged communities are more likely to lack the documents to satisfy proof-of-citizenship requirements. Moreover, for many individuals, the cost and burden involved in obtaining documents will be a significant obstacle and deterrent to exercising their constitutional right to vote.

“The court’s decision removes unjustified obstacles to voter registration,” said Cecelia Chang, director of litigation at AAJC.  “Eligible citizens should not have to pay hundreds of dollars or expend many hours, days, and weeks securing documents so they can register to vote.”

“This is a victory for voters in Georgia,” said Stephanie Cho, executive director at AAJC Atlanta.  “Proof-of-citizenship requirements disproportionately burden young voters and naturalized citizens and would have made it more difficult for Asian American voters, one of Georgia’s fastest growing groups, to vote in upcoming elections.”

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TAGS: Advancing Justice (AAJC), Brian D. Newby, proof of citizenship requirement for voting, The League of Women Voters, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, voter suppression
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