Appeals court questions proof-of-citizenship rules

DENVER — A federal appeals court in Denver is suggesting that a partisan impasse in Congress may prevent Kansas and Arizona from getting federal elections officials to help them impose proof-of-citizenship requirements on voter registration forms.

The three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted that Congress has not confirmed commissioners to sit on the Elections Assistance Commission. That body’s staff refused to include Kansas and Arizona’s instructions on its voter registration form, triggering a federal lawsuit.

The appellate judges said that only commissioners may be able to make that decision, meaning Kansas and Arizona could not get changes made until Congress acts.

A trial court judge forced the commission staff to make a decision and then overruled it, finding the federal government had to accept the states’ instructions.