Voter citizenship issue goes before federal court

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An appeals court panel will hear oral arguments this week in a closely watched case that could have far-reaching implications for voting rights nationwide.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver will hear arguments Monday in an appeal filed by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

The agency is seeking to overturn a federal judge's order that the commission modify a federal form to include special instructions requiring Kansas and Arizona residents to provide citizenship documentation when they register to vote.

At the crux of the suit is whether the federal government or states have authority to regulate voter registration. Each side contends the U.S. Constitution supports its position.

The states argue the requirements prevent voter fraud by thwarting voting by noncitizens. Critics view them as suppressing voter turnout.

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