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Court extends stay in Arizona, Kansas voting case

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo Katie Miller, left, receives a ballot and instructions from Sally Hughes at a polling station in Galena, Kan. A federal appeals court extended its order Tuesday, May 20, 2014 allowing Kansas and Arizona residents to continue registering to vote using a federal form without having to show proof of citizenship. (AP Photo/The Joplin Globe, Roger Nomer, File)

FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo Katie Miller, left, receives a ballot and instructions from Sally Hughes at a polling station in Galena, Kan. A federal appeals court extended its order Tuesday, May 20, 2014 allowing Kansas and Arizona residents to continue registering to vote using a federal form without having to show proof of citizenship. (AP Photo/The Joplin Globe, Roger Nomer, File)

A federal appeals court extended its order allowing Kansas and Arizona residents to continue registering to vote using a federal form without having to show proof of citizenship.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its order late Monday and granted an expedited hearing on the merits of the case sought by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and voting rights groups.

Earlier this month, the appeals court issued its emergency stay of U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren’s ruling ordering the commission to immediately modify its federal voter registration form to add special instructions for Arizona and Kansas residents about those states’ proof-of-citizenship requirements.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has said if the law is stayed, he would implement a system like Arizona’s in which voters who registered with the federal form can vote only in federal races.

The commission has argued that Melgren’s decision would discourage voters from registering for federal elections and would hurt voter registration drives.

Federal election officials and their supporters contend that the federal form provides an important backstop allowing participation of all eligible voters in federal elections, regardless of “onerous” requirements that states may place to vote in their own elections.

Kansas and Arizona argue that the availability of a federal form, which requires only that people attest under penalty of perjury that they are citizens, creates a “massive loophole” in the enforcement of their voter proof-of-citizenship laws aimed at keeping noncitizens off the voter rolls.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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