By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday July 1, 2016, voting rights groups are appealing a district court decision refusing to grant an injunction on a procedure that would require that voters in Alabama, Georgia and Kansas provide proof of US citizenship when they register to vote. The groups seek to set aside the order by the executive director of the US Election Assistance Commission, Brian Newby, requiring the citizenship documentation to register to vote in the three states. US District Judge Richard Leon upheld Newby’s change and refused a request by the coalition of voting rights groups that an injunction be placed on the new registration rules. Judge Leon refused the coalition of voting rights groups request for an injunction before a trial could even be held. On Friday Judge Leon’s ruling denying the injunction has been appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Voting rights groups Friday appealed that order, which they claim threatens to disenfranchise tens of thousands of immigrant voters in three states in the upcoming November elections: Alabama, Georgia and Kansas.
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R), who appoints voter registrars in each county, supports the new requirement and says that the change should stand.
Auditor Zeigler said, “Only US citizens should vote in US elections. The new Alabama procedure makes it hard to impossible for a non-citizen to register to vote. That is a good thing. It does not make it hard for a US citizen to register.”
Zeigler added, “With thousands of foreigners coming to Alabama, it is vital to make sure that only US citizens vote. This is especially important in Alabama’s swing counties where there is close competition between Republican and Democrat candidates, such as Jefferson County, our largest.”
US Representative Terri Sewell (D-Selma) opposes the new voter requirements. Congresswoman Sewell said on social media, “It is unacceptable for Alabama to create last minute laws with new voting procedures. Now we have to prove US citizenship? These are more modern day barriers to the ballot box! We must #RestoreTheVote.”
Alabama and Georgia have not been enforcing the new requirement pending the case’s appeal to District Court. Brian Newby was formerly an election official in Kansas.
There are an estimated 12 million illegal aliens living in the United States and millions more legal immigrants who do not have citizenship, thus do not legally have a right to vote in American elections.
Congresswoman Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.
(Original reporting by the Associated Press contributed to this report)