Court Rules in Favor of States Rights Concerning Voters’ Citizenship


by Carolyn Elkins

A U.S. District Court judge ruled recently that Arizona and Kansas can make people prove their citizenship when they vote, and the federal Election Assistance Commission doesn’t have the authority to block them.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach was encouraged by the ruling, seeing it as a win for States’ rights. “We’ve seen so many defeats recently in areas where the federal government has been encroaching on states’ authorities, and this time the good guys won.”

Judge Eric F. Melgren ruled that the EAC must accede to states’ requests for people to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote and that the Constitution gives states the power to determine voter qualifications. “On one hand, the ITCA (Inter Tribal Council of Arizona) decision acknowledges the broad scope of Congress ‘power under the Elections Clause, which includes the authority of the NVRA to preempt state law regarding voter registration,” the judge wrote.

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