Tag Archives: non-citizens

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.

AG Deems Ban on Non-Citizens at Polls ‘Constitutionally Suspect’

The state’s attorney general says a Senate-approved bill that would prohibit non-U.S. citizens, regardless of their immigration status, from working at or even entering polling places is “constitutionally suspect,” reports The Tennessean.
In an opinion released Wednesday, Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper says House Bill 985, sponsored by Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, would probably violate the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment despite the arguments of some backers.
“It is not apparent that protection of the integrity of the polling place is a rationale for this citizenship requirement, particularly when state law does not otherwise require a person to be a registered voter to perform any of these functions in the polling place,” the opinion reads.
The bill would require that poll watchers be U.S. citizens and bar non-citizens from admission to voting sites.
An amended version — which gives a special exemption authorizing non-U.S. citizens who are assisting physically disabled voters to enter polls — cleared the upper chamber earlier this month. On the heels of the new attorney general’s opinion, however, the House on Thursday opted to delay voting on the bill for one week
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Note: The full opinion is HERE.