Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Earlier this week, the Pew Data Dispatch examined The Cost of a Two-Tiered Election in Arizona.
I am guessing that Arizona Secretary of State Ken "Birther" Bennett also read this report, because he has changed his mind about maintaining a dual voter registration system in Arizona. Bennett wants court to mandate modification to federal election forms:
Not willing to maintain a dual registration system, Secretary of State Ken Bennett wants a court to order the federal Election Assistance Commission to modify its voter registration forms to demand proof of citizenship.
In legal filings Wednesday, Bennett said he needs an immediate order to ensure that Arizona — and Kansas, which is seeking the same relief — are not denied “their sovereign and constitutional right to establish and enforce voter qualifications.” Without the order, Bennett said the state will forced to register "unqualified" voters. [Those who do not submit proof of citizenship under Arizona law.]
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Bennett contends that [a dual voter registration system] will be “unduly burdensome.” So he wants a federal judge in Kansas who is hearing the case to order the Election Assistance Commission to add a proof-of-citizenship requirement for the voter-registration forms it has for Arizona.
And Bennett and Kris Kobach, his Kansas counterpart, want that to happen soon, seeking a hearing on Nov. 12 or shortly thereafter.
[T]he U.S. Supreme Court said state election officials cannot refuse to accept a voter registration form that Congress directed the federal Election Assistance Commission to design.
That form has no citizenship-proof requirement, instead requiring only that those seeking to register swear, under penalty of perjury, that they are citizens.
In their June ruling, though, the justices said Arizona remains free to ask the commission to alter its forms for Arizona.
But that request went nowhere because the commission has no active members, and Alice Miller, the panel's executive director, said she lacked the power to do that herself.
So now Arizona and Kansas, which has a similar proof-of-citizenship requirement, want a federal judge to order Miller to make the change, commission or not.
Attorneys for both states contend Miller and the vacant commission “are under a nondiscretionary duty to make the proposed modifications” to the federal form.
“Defendants’ refusal to make such proposed modifications constitutes an infringement on the sovereignty of the plaintiff states and infringes on plaintiffs’ constitutional power and right to establish voter qualifications,” the lawyers wrote.
Here's the problem. The defendants in this case are the Election Assistance Commission and its individual commissioners. The commission currently has no commissioners because Tea-Publicans in Congress have sought to kill the Election Assistance Commission for years through "nullification" by neglect -- simply refuse to appoint any commissioners, and the commission has no power to act.
So who exactly is the court going to order to issue the relief requested by Bennett and Kobach? The executive director, Alice Miller, is an administrative employee who does not possess the statutory powers of a commissioner. (Miller's position is similar to that of Ray Bladine, the executive director of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission). At the Election Assistance Commission, the lights are on but no one is home, because Tea-Publicans in Congress killed the commission.
So again, who exactly is the court going to order to issue the relief requested by Bennett and Kobach? Unless their theory here is "Who cares? Just give us what we want." IOKIYAR.