Brady and Democratic Leaders Fight Restrictive Voter Registration Requirement in Kobach v. EAC
June 4, 2014 (WASHINGTON DC) Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert A. Brady (D-PA) joined Democratic leadership and many of his Democratic colleagues in the fight against redundant, unnecessary, and restrictive proof of citizenship laws as voter registration requirements. Along with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, Brady was joined by the chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. The group submitted an amicus brief opposing such restrictions in Kobach v. EAC, which will soon be heard by the United States Court of Appeals of the Tenth Circuit.
“The Supreme Court has already held in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that a state mandated proof of citizenship requirement to register to vote is completely unnecessary because voters already attest to it on the federal registration form,” said Brady. “Laws are already in place to deter non-citizens from registering to vote and to punish those that violate that law. Additional burdens are an outrageous and insidious way to disfranchise eligible voters by throwing arbitrary obstacles in their way. It's nothing more than voter suppression. I am hopeful the 10th Court of Appeals will do the right thing and protect every eligible American's right to vote.”
The brief offers arguments that reaffirm Congress’s authority to regulate federal elections and to protect the right to vote. According to the brief, “the district court’s opinion in this case erroneously limits that authority and thereby call into question both the validity of legislation that has played a critical role in expanding access to the franchise and Congress’s ability to pass further legislation removing unnecessary barrier to voting in federal elections….For much of our nation’s history, state law was used to diminish or deny qualified citizens the right to vote. The Constitution was amended to correct that wrong and to empower Congress to take appropriate steps to ensure that history does not repeat itself….Congress’s authority to override state law in matters of election procedures for federal elections is beyond doubt.”
In addition to Ranking Member Brady, the brief was submitted by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rubén Hinojosa, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Judy Chu.