The State of Kansas has an election law requiring documentary proof of citizenship (“DPOC”) for voter registration. Why is this issue important to us in New Hampshire?
NH law, RSA 654:1, makes being a citizen of the US one of the essential qualifications for registration to vote.
This past Wednesday, April 29, the federal Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit (which covers Kansas; Colorado; New Mexico; the Eastern, Western & Northern Districts of Oklahoma; Utah; and Wyoming) issued a decision and a long opinion in a case brought by a number of named plaintiffs along with the League of Women Voters of Kansas, supported by (big surprise, the ACLU), challenging the Kansas law requiring documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote.
The case decision & opinion can be found at https://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/18/18-3133.pdf
As hard as it may be to believe, the Court found that the Kansas law requiring documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration violated provisions of the National Voter Registration Act and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, and upheld an injunction against enforcement of that requirement
Thus, if this decision stands, non-US citizens can register to vote in Kansas and in the other states within the 10th Circuit.
The next step in the legal process is for a petition for review to the US Supreme Court. It requires 4 members of that Court to agree to hear the case. Unfortunately, based upon the recent punt of the New York gun rights case by SCOTUS, there can be no assurance that the SCOTUS will take up the case.
It is apparent that good government requires an additional Justice of SCOTUS to serve with Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, especially considering the fluctuating nature of the Chief Justice. The filling of the next vacancy on the Court will have a material effect on the lives of all Americans for many years to come.
Another way to encourage SCOTUS review would be a contrary decision on the issue by another Court of Appeals, but that will likely take a long time.
Finally, the other possible way out of this mess is for a Republican controlled Congress to pass amendments to the National Voter Registration Act, but as long as the House is controlled by Dems, there is no chance of such an enactment. The Dems seem to want any person who can pass the fogged mirror-under-the-nose test to be registered to vote.
This writer is still in shock over this decision and he will be reading and re-reading it over the next few days to see if there are any crumbs within it that might give any glimmer of hope to federalists.