KS and AZ File SCOTUS Petition in Effort to Stop Non-Citizens from Registering and Voting

Senate Kobach Analysis
KS SOS Kris Kobach - AP PHOTO/John Hanna

The States of Kansas and Arizona, and the Secretaries of State from those respective states filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari (see attachment below) in the United States Supreme Court Tuesday asking the Court to hear a case involving the issue of non-citizens illegally registering to vote in elections in the United States.

The case, Kobach, et al. v. Election Assistance Commission, et al. (#14-1164) is an appeal from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals where the Court refused requests by the state of Kansas and Arizona made to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The States had asked the EAC to modify the instructions for the federal registration form to include state proof of citizenship requirements. Actual voter registration forms showing noncitizens have registered to vote were attached to an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief filed by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF).

Kris W. Kobach is the Secretary of State from Kansas. Michele Reagan is Arizona’s Secretary of State.

Respondents in the case include the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the League of United Latin American Citizens Arizona, Project Vote, Inc., Arizona Advocacy Network, League of Women Voters of America of the United States and Kansas, Chicanos por La Causa, Inc., and other Respondents.

Petitioners urge the Court to hear the case complaining that the court of appeals erroneously held that the EAC did not abuse its discretion in denying Arizona’s and Kansas’s requests that the EAC modify the federal mail voter registration form to include their state law requirements that registration applicants provide evidence of citizenship in the state-specific instructions that accompany the Federal Form.

Petitioner States and their Secretaries of State present two questions for the Court. The first is whether Article I, Section 2, and the Seventeenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution require the EAC to defer to the States’ determination that provision of documentary evidence of citizenship is necessary to enforce the States’ voter qualifications. The second question is whether Article I, Section 2, and the Seventeenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, permit a dual voter rolls system in which some voters who are qualified to vote for federal office holders are not also qualified to vote for those “in the most numerous branch of the state legislature.”

Petitioners urge that the Tenth Circuit opinion conflicts with the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court opinion of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA) because it gives the federal government, not the states, the authority to enforce voter qualifications. They argue that the Tenth Circuit incorrectly found that the State’s Qualification Clause Authority does not trump Congress’ Elections Clause Authority. They also argue that the intermediate federal court’s opinion conflicts with ITCA by giving the EAC the authority to determine what information is “necessary” for a State to enforce its voter qualifications.

Petitioners ask the Court to take the case because it presents an issue of great national importance; specifically, that the voter qualifications for Congressional elections now differ from the voter qualifications for State legislative elections which is in violation of Article I, Section 2, of the United States Constitution.

“The brief filed today for ACRU is the first of many efforts to oppose organized efforts to undermine the integrity of elections,” said J. Christian Adams in a statement from the PILF obtained by Breitbart Texas. Adams serves as President and General Counsel of the charitable organization. Adams added, “We are grateful for True the Vote’s efforts to find these failures.”  The Foundation obtained completed voter registration forms of “self-professed non-citizens” from the Houston-based election integrity organization True the Vote.  True the Vote obtained the records through a public records request to the Harris County, Texas, Voter Registrar. The Foundation maintains that the documents are a small sampling from True the Vote regarding the adequacy of voter registration procedures using a federal form without additional citizenship qualifications.

The PILF (formerly Act Right Legal Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation assists states, local governments, and others, in their fight for election integrity in American elections.

“As the Harris County, Texas, Voter Registrar, my highest priority is to maintain the integrity of the voter roll,” Mike Sullivan, Tax Assessor-Collector and County Voter Registrar told Breitbart Texas. “If any specific allegations of illegal voter registration are brought to my attention, I will absolutely and immediately investigate.”

Breibart Texas also spoke to the Harris County Clerk who stated “It is illegal for non-citizens to vote in Texas. Period. My office will do everything in our power to diligently and proactively ensure that only legally registered citizens are allowed to cast a ballot in Harris County” said Stan Stanart, Harris County Clerk and Chief Election Official. In spite of those who which to cheat or game the system, in my view the Vote Registrar and the Texas Secretary of State are working hard to ensure that only citizens are registered in Harris County.”

The Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States provide that a brief in opposition to Petitioner’s petition for writ of certiorari may be filed by the respondents, but it is not mandatory to do so except when ordered by the Court. Any brief in opposition should be filed within 30 days after the case is placed on the docket unless the time is extended by the Court. The case was docketed March 24, 2015. The Court has issued an Order extending the time to file a response to the petition to and including May 26, 2015.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2

Kobach Petition to US Supreme Court


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