Manatt Files Lawsuit Against Mississippi Secretary of State Over Proof of Citizenship Voting Requirement for Naturalized Citizens

On November 18, 2019, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, alongside the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Mississippi Center for Justice, filed suit against the Secretary of State of the State of Mississippi over the state’s voter registration requirement for naturalized citizens. Under Mississippi’s current law, which was enacted prior to the Voting Rights Act, all naturalized citizens are required to present a naturalization certificate or court order in order to register to vote, a requirement that does not apply to U.S.-born citizens. Mississippi is the only state in the U.S. to have separate registration requirements for naturalized citizens.

The complaint alleges that Mississippi’s voter registration requirement violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and burdens naturalized citizens’ fundamental right to vote.

“We are honored to work alongside our pro bono partners to protect this fundamental right granted to all U.S. citizens,” said Ronald Turovsky, partner and leader of the Manatt pro bono team involved in the case.

The Manatt team involved in the case also includes litigation partners Emil Petrossian and Kevin Dwight and associates Alexandra Hill, Kay Fitz-Patrick, and Josh Drian.

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