A federal judge declined Tuesday a request by voting rights groups to block temporarily a new voting restriction in three states. The groups are suing a federal official over his unilateral move to approve a proof-of-citizenship requirement to register to vote in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama.
In his order refusing to issue a temporary restraining order on the measure, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon in Washington suggested that he was skeptical the challengers would succeed when a full case was heard on the merits. The order comes after the Department of Justice had signaled it was siding with the voting rights groups, at least when it came to temporarily blocking the requirement.
The League of Women Voters, Project Vote and other civil rights groups are challenging the decision of Brian Newby — the recently appointed executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission — to change the federal voting registration forms for the three state to include a requirement that registering voters show a proof of citizenship. The groups say the requirement violates the National Voter Registration Act and that Newby broke commission protocols in how he went about changing the form. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (pictured above) has joined Newby in defending the move.
Leon said in Tuesday’s order that the groups’ argument for blocking the mandate did not meet the requirements of a temporary restraining order, but that he was also “not convinced” they had “demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success.”
Read Leon’s order below: