SCOTUS Denies Requests for Proof of Voter Citizenship

The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Arizona and Kansas that left in effect a November 2014 ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the states cannot require the documentation for applicants using the “federal form.”


The decision denied the states’ request to change its registration requirements to include proof of citizenship for those applying to vote in federal elections, as the states require for those using their state forms.

Kirs Koback, Kansas Secretary of State, who filed the joint appeal to the federal appellate court decision with Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, says,

The Supreme Court decision not to review was not particularly surprising given the fact that there was no circuit split yet.

Kobach expects the 11th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over the two states, to eventually weigh in, according to Roll Call. Kobach also said,

States allow people to use the federal form to register for state elections as a courtesy, but are not required to do so. So I would encourage people to continue to provide proof of citizenship. That is what the people of Kansas overwhelmingly wanted, that is what I ran on and that is what the Kansas Legislature overwhelmingly voted for. That remains the law in Kansas.

Now states will have a more difficult time preserving the integrity of federal elections in their states. Currently, the federal agency's form only requires applicants swear eligibility under penalty of perjury. Therefore, if a state wishes to use the federal form for their own elections then states will have to establish citizenship some other way.

Why it matters:

In a study, two Old Dominion Professors analyzed survey data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, to find that 6.4 percent of all non-citizens voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election, and 2.2 percent in the 2010 midterms. Given that 80 percent of non-citizens lean Democratic, they cite Al Franken ’s 312-vote win in the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate race as one likely tipped by non-citizen voting. As a senator, Franken cast the 60th vote needed to make Obamacare law. The authors write,

We find that some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.


Kobach plans to send a request presented differently to the EAC to prevent alien votes cancelling out votes of U.S. citizens.  Every fraudulent vote disenfranchises a legal voter.