From Two-Track to the Fast Track? Kansas, Arizona to Get Expedited Hearing on Proof of Citizenship


[Image courtesy of posterskopen]

With all the attention in the past few weeks on the two-track voter registration plans underway in Kansas and Arizona, it may have been easy to forget that such systems won’t be necessary if the federal government agrees to require proof of citizenship on the federal voter registration form.

It will be hard to forget now, as a federal court has put the states’ lawsuit on the fast track with an early December court date. has more:

A federal judge has set an expedited schedule in a lawsuit filed by Kansas and Arizona against a federal agency in hopes of bolstering their states’ enforcement of proof-of-citizenship requirements for new voters.

A hearing was scheduled for Dec. 13 on the states’ request for a preliminary injunction forcing the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to modify a national voter registration form to help the states administer their requirements.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren, based in Wichita, also told the commission and its top administrator Thursday that they had until Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, to file a written response to the request for such an order. A preliminary injunction would impose the change even before the lawsuit is heard.

The key fact to remember, of course, is that the EAC barely exists right now. With that recognition, the federal government sought, unsuccessfully, to delay the case:

The states had asked for a hearing on an injunction on or shortly after Nov. 12, but the U.S. Department of Justice, representing the commission, had suggested scheduling it as late as mid-April 2014.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said the schedule set by Melgren is fair.

“We’re pleased,” he said. “It establishes a reasonable time frame to present the issues to the court.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

This hearing will be very important – not just for Arizona and Kansas, but for other states interested in requiring proof of citizenship from all potential voters. It will determine whether or not two-track systems in those states go forward, as well as potentially open the door to other state restrictions on voters using the federal form.

Stay tuned …

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