Federal Judge Rules States Can Require Proof Of Citizenship From Voters

| by Will Hagle

Requiring proof of citizenship from voters was recently ruled constitutional by a federal judge.

Kansas and Arizona, the two states that had approved legislation requiring voters to provide proof of citizenship before voting in federal elections, celebrated the ruling that claimed the federal government could not limit state voting requirements. 

The ruling was given by U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren, who claimed that Kansas and Arizona’s proof of citizenship laws could be enacted immediately. 

According to the Kansas City Star, however, the law is not scheduled to go into effect quite so quickly. The legislation is currently under review by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the USA Today reports. 

Opponents have compared the legislation to the Jim Crow laws of the South, in which states denied blacks the right to vote through various tactics such as grandfather clauses, poll taxes and literacy tests. They claim that the law unfairly targets immigrants, the homeless, ex-convicts and other individuals that may lack the necessary documentation to prove their citizenship. 

The existing law, of course, already dictates that an individual must be a U.S. citizen if he or she wishes to vote in a federal election. If that individual lacks the necessary documents proving citizenship, however, he or she may declare citizenship under penalty of perjury in order to register. The new laws in Kansas and Arizona take away the right of an individual to declare citizenship, requiring proof instead.