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Kansas, Arizona Prevail in Voter Citizenship Suit

Citizenship
Photo by Jeff Topping/Getty Images

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to help Kansas and Arizona enforce laws requiring new voters to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita, Kan., ruled Wednesday that the commission has no legal authority to deny requests from Kansas and Arizona to add state-specific instructions to a national voter registration form. The states sued to force the action.

Both states require new voters to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship to election officials. The federal registration form requires only that prospective voters sign a statement that they are citizens.

Melgren said the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to set voter qualifications, and Congress has not pre-empted it, even in enacting a federal voter-registration law in the 1990s.

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