A former high-ranking election official violated federal law in 2016 when he granted requests by Kansas, Georgia and Alabama to modify the national voter registration form to require documentary proof of citizenship in those states, a federal judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon threw out the contested decisions made by Brian Newby, then-executive director of the Election Assistance Commission, an independent federal agency, after finding on Thursday that Newby failed to determine whether the proposed requirements were necessary to register to vote.
The long-delayed ruling by Leon has little practical effect since a federal appeals court had earlier granted a preliminary injunction in the case, blocking the enforcement of the requirement.
In a separate case, the Kansas law requiring documentary proof of citizenship was found unconstitutional by a federal appeals court, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.
Leon remanded the requests for the changes sought by Georgia and Alabama to the Election Assistance Commission to reconsider in a manner consistent with his ruling, should those state continue to seek the state-specific instructions to the form.