AG Sees Bill Banning Non-Citizens from Polls as Suspect

A Senate-passed bill banning those who are not United States citizens from polling places has been deemed “constitutionally suspect” by state Attorney General Bob Cooper.
“When these (relevant legal) standards are applied to HB985, the provisions of this bill appear on their face to be constitutionally suspect as violative of the Equal Protection Clause” of the U.S. Constitution, says the attorney general opinion.
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the opinion notes, provides that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Legal noncitizen residents are covered by the phrase and are otherwise allowed by state law to be present at polling places for purposes other than voting.
To withstand a court challenge, such a blanket ban would have to establish that the law serves “a compelling state interest by the least restrictive means practically available.” The opinion expresses doubt about the proposed law meeting that standard.
The full opinion is HERE.

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