Kobach v. United States Election Assistance Commission, No. 14-3062 (10th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach sought, on behalf of their states, that the Election Assistance Commission (“EAC”) add language requiring documentary proof of citizenship to each state’s instructions on the federal voter registration form. The EAC concluded that the additional language was unnecessary and denied their requests. After Kobach and Bennett filed suit challenging the EAC’s decision, the district court concluded that the agency had a nondiscretionary duty to grant their requests. The EAC appealed. After review, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the district court’s erred in its conclusion: the decision was "plainly" in conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision in "Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA)," (133 S. Ct. 2247 (2013)). "This is one of those instances in which the dissent clearly tells us what the law is not. It is not as if the proposition had not occurred to the majority of the Court. Applying traditional APA review standards, our thorough reading of the record establishes that Kobach and Bennett have failed to advance proof that registration fraud in the use of the Federal Form prevented Arizona and Kansas from enforcing their voter qualifications."