by Kathleen Unger and Steven Kamp
Make sure your vote counts. Prepare for your next Election Day – effective immediately.
In 34 states you need an acceptable form of identification to vote. Now in four states, you need proof of citizenship to even register to vote.
A judge ruled on March 19 that the federal government cannot deny a state’s requirement that registering voters submit proof of their citizenship. While the court's decision was in response to the lawsuit brought by Kansas and Arizona, it applies initially as well to Alabama and Georgia, which have also passed similar laws. This decision is "effective immediately," although it will likely be appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
More states are passing increasingly restrictive voter ID and registration laws. VoteRiders, a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit, is the only organization that focuses exclusively on voter ID. We provide resources and marketing support to local Partner Organizations and trained volunteers who assist citizens to obtain the documents required by their state's new voter ID law – and, now, their state’s proof-of-citizenship registration law.
You want to do something about this, you say? If you know someone in a voter ID state who may need ID, direct them to VoteRiders for help. If you live in one of VoteRiders’ current, target voter ID states – AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, IN, KS, MS, NC, NH, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA – contact VoteRiders to learn how to become a volunteer Voter Advocate or Attorney Voter Advocate.
Below are the proof-of-citizenship requirements for Kansas and Arizona. Don't get left behind!
KANSAS. Any person registering to vote in Kansas for the first time will be required to provide satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship. Individuals registered to vote in Kansas as of January 1, 2013, are deemed to have submitted proof of citizenship and are exempt from the requirement as long as they remain on the voter registration list. Moving from one place to another within Kansas or modifying one's registration records does not require the person to re-submit proof of citizenship.
The following is a partial list of acceptable documents:
• Birth certificate that verifies U.S. citizenship
• U.S. passport (may be expired)
• U.S. naturalization documents or the number of the certificate of naturalization
• Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, tribal treaty number or tribal enrollment number
• U.S. hospital record of birth indicating place of birth in the U.S.
• U.S. military record of service showing the applicant’s name and U.S. birthplace
ARIZONA. If this is your first time registering to vote in Arizona or you have moved to another county in Arizona, your voter registration form must also include proof of citizenship. If you have an Arizona driver license or non-operating identification issued after October 1, 1996, write the number in box 9 on the front of the Arizona Voter Registration form. If not, you must attach proof of citizenship to the form. If you are registered in Arizona and use the registration form because you move within a county, change your name, or change your political party affiliation, you do not need to provide photocopies of proof of citizenship.
The following is a list of acceptable documents to establish your citizenship:
• A legible photocopy of a birth certificate that verifies citizenship and supporting
legal documentation (e.g., marriage certificate) if the name on the birth certificate is
not the same as your current legal name
• A legible photocopy of the pertinent pages of your passport
• Presentation to the County Recorder of U.S. naturalization documents or fill in your Alien
Registration Number in box 11
• Your Indian Census Number, Bureau of Indian Affairs Card Number, Tribal Treaty Card
Number, or Tribal Enrollment Number in box 10
• A legible photocopy of your Tribal Certificate of Indian Blood or Tribal or Bureau of Indian
Affairs Affidavit of Birth
Don't despair, and don't delay. Contact VoteRiders if you or someone you know needs help securing a voter ID or proof of citizenship, or if you want to help stem the tide of disenfranchisement as a result of these voter ID and registration laws.