Election Assistance Commission official sued over alleged unlawful change to voter form

By Robbie Hargett | Feb 27, 2016

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – A federal election official is being sued over claims he unlawfully amended the requirements of a federal form for several states.

League of Women Voters of the United States, et al., filed a lawsuit Feb. 12 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and its acting Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Brian D. Newby, alleging violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

The suit states that on Jan. 29, Newby granted requests by Alabama, Georgia and Kansas to modify the national uniform mail-in voter registration form's instructions to require voter registration applicants in those states to submit documentary proof of U.S. citizenship.

The suit states that Newby, a former Kansas election official, acted beyond his authority and contrary to long-standing EAC policy and precedent that documentary proof of citizenship was not necessary for states to assess eligibility of a voter registration application submitted on the federal form.

Newby allegedly acted without the approval of three EAC commissioners, as required by the Help America Vote Act, among other violations of the APA.

The plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, temporary restraining order, attorney fees and other costs of the suit.

They are represented by attorneys Amelia J. Schmidt, Michael C. Keats and Joel T. Dodge of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in New York and Washington, D.C.; attorneys Wendy R. Weiser, Jonathan Brater, Tomas Lopez and Robert Ferguson of Brennan Center for Justice in New York; attorneys Susan M. Davies and Jonathan D. Janow of Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C.; attorneys Jon M. Greenbaum and Ezra D. Rosenberg of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C.; attorneys Linda Stein, Errol R. Patterson and Jason Abel of Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C.; attorneys Dale E. Ho and Orion Danjuma of American Civil Liberties Union Foundation in New York; attorney Doug Bonney of ACLU Foundation of Kansas in Overland Park, Kansas; attorney John A. Freedman of Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C.; and attorney Michelle Kanter Cohen of Project Vote in Washington, D.C.

U.S. District court for the District of Columbia Case number 1:16-CV-00236-RJL

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