Kobach et al. v. The United States Election Assistance Commission
The Brennan Center, along with co-counsel Kirkland & Ellis and Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch, LLC, represents the League of Women Voters of the United States, along with its Arizona and Kansas affiliates, in a lawsuit opposing harsh state laws that require documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote. The League joined the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) as Defendants in a suit, Kris W. Kobach et al. v. United States Election Assistance Commission, filed by Arizona and Kansas officials in August.
In a June 2013 opinion, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., the Supreme Court invalidated Arizona’s law requiring documentary proof of citizenship as it applied to the federal registration form. The Court found Arizona’s law violated the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), a 1993 law that, pursuant to Congress’s power to regulate federal elections, provides a simple application card that eligible Americans may use to register to vote for federal races. Arizona, along with Kansas, are now attempting to change that result; the states seek to force the EAC to change the federal form to allow them to require documentary proof of citizenship, which the federal form does not allow. On January 17, 2014, the EAC issued a decision denying the states' requests. Kansas and Arizona sought judicial review of the decision, and a federal district court heard oral argument on February 11.
The League, one of the longest standing voter registration organizations in the nation, argues that documentary proof of citizenship requirements harm its nonpartisan voter registration efforts, undermining its core mission of promoting voter participation, and that Arizona and Kansas should not be permitted to circumvent Congress's protection of the right to register to vote in federal elections.
On March 19, a District Court ruled that the EAC must change the federal registration form to allow the states to require documentary proof. The League, along with the other Intervenors and the EAC, appealed the decision, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the District Court's order pending appeal.
On May 27, the Brennan Center, along with its co-counsel and counsel for other parties, submitted a brief on behalf of the League and other Intervenors. Oral argument was held August 25.
On November 7, the Tenth Circuit issued a ruling in our favor, holding that the EAC need not include the states’ requirements on the federal form.
- Brennan Center Press Release (11/21/13)
- Talking Points Memo, Dual Attacks Take On Voting Restriction Efforts in Arizona, Kansas (11/22/13)
- Brennan Center Op-Ed, Don't Erode Protections for the Right to Vote (12/13/13)
District Court Documents
- Complaint (8/21/13)
- Kansas and Arizona Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/23/13)
- League of Women Voters Memorandum in Support of Motion to Intervene (11/21/13)
- EAC Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (11/27/13)
- League of Women Voters Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (12/2/13)
- Kansas and Arizona Reply in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (12/11/13)
- Memorandum Opinion Granting Motions to Intervene Permissively (12/12/13)
- Order Remanding Matter to EAC for Final Agency Action (12/13/13)
- League of Women Voters Answer to Complaint (12/16/13)
- Memorandum of EAC Final Agency Action (1/17/14)
- Kansas and Arizona Memorandum in Support of Notice of Adverse Agency Decision and Motion for Relief (1/31/14)
- EAC Opposition to Motion for Relief (2/7/14)
- League of Women Voters Opposition to Motion for Relief (2/7/14)
- Memorandum and Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion for Judgment (3/19/14)
- League of Women Voters Memorandum in Support of Motion to Stay (4/1/14)
- Memorandum and Order Denying Motion to Stay (5/7/14)
Appellate Court Documents
- Docketed Appeal (3/28/14)
- EAC Emergency Motion for Stay (5/8/14)
- League of Women Voters and Intervenor-Appellants' Emergency Motion for Stay (5/8/14)
- Order Granting Emergency Motion for Stay (5/8/14)
- Order Granting Stay Pending Appeal (5/19/14)
- Brief for the EAC (5/21/14)
- League of Women Voters Opening Brief (5/27/14)
- Response Brief from Kansas and Arizona (6/30/14)
- Reply Brief for the EAC (7/17/14)
- Reply Brief for the League of Women Voters (7/28/14)
- Opinion of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (11/7/14)