The Louisiana Legislature passed Act 281 that was signed into law May 31, 2016. Section 3 of the Act repeals the state requirement for additional proof of citizenship for foreign born applicants. This Act was created to bring Louisiana into compliance with federal rulings.
In a worst case scenario, this new legislation could possibly allow non-citizens to vote in US elections because it is now illegal to require proof of citizenship.
Sec. of State Tom Schedler notified the Natchitoches Parish Registrar of Voters Office this week of the change.
Prior to the act passed by the Legislature through the Omnibus Election Code Bill, there was a distinction between verification of US citizens and those who checked foreign born.
Registrars could request additional proof of citizenship on any foreign born applicant, either through a passport, naturalization papers or other additional documentation of citizenship. Now, those who are foreign born must only verify proof of identity, not proof of citizenship.
Currently when a person applies to register to vote the Registrar of Voters Office computer software verifies drivers license and/or Social Security number. In addition applicants are mailed a voter ID card to verify their address.
All Registrar’s staff have been instructed to review material on the Secretary of States website. In addition, it was stated in the memo that the foreign born phrase was also removed from online voter registration applications and any Registrar of Voters not in compliance with the law is subject to a personal lawsuit.
The Registrar offices were instructed to destroy all forms, letters, or other materials relating to proof of citizenship.
In a related matter the public has until Oct.11 to register to vote in the Nov. 8 Presidential election or to make changes to current registration. For more information, Natchitoches Parish Registrar of Voters Office can be reached at 318-357-2211.
Submitted to the NPJ by Debbie Waskom, Registrar of Voters Office, Natchitoches Parish.