The Federal Election Commissioner has stopped requiring voter registration forms to be submitted, a move that has come as a surprise to many voters, particularly those who want to vote early in their primaries.
The move came in response to a lawsuit filed last year by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and two other Democratic candidates.
The Federal Elections Commission said in a statement that it was making the decision based on the “continuing threat of fraud and cyberattacks.”
The agency said it is taking “extraordinary steps to improve voter registration systems, especially in the wake of the recent attacks” that have been plaguing some states.
The lawsuit alleged that the system in Georgia was vulnerable to attacks and that the FEC was not properly protecting voters.
The FEC did not respond to a request for comment.
The agency also announced this week that it would stop offering voters a free paper-based form to use at polling places.
But, the FEC said in an email to The Washington Times, it will still provide a paper form at all of its sites that does not require voter registration.
The form will still be free to voters.
“While we have made some adjustments to our website, we remain committed to providing voters with an easy, reliable, and affordable way to register to vote in the upcoming general election,” the agency said.
“We will continue to provide our voters with a paper voter registration form.”
A similar move was taken by the state of Colorado in 2015, which also was not subject to the federal election law.
A report released by the Center for American Progress and the Public Interest Legal Foundation last year found that nearly a third of eligible voters in Colorado lacked the required forms of identification and had to resort to printing their own.
That report also noted that in 2014, more than 60 percent of eligible Colorado voters did not have the necessary documents, including a driver’s license or ID card.
A federal appeals court in Colorado last year ruled that requiring voters to register was unconstitutional, but that the state did not meet its burden of proving that the law violated the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech.
The ruling, which came after an appeals court agreed with the plaintiffs, said the state could not prove that it could prevent voter fraud.
The appeals court also said the states’ claim that voter registration could not be prevented because it could affect voting was “not supported by any facts.”
“The mere presence of a signature on a ballot is not evidence that the person who signed the ballot is likely to vote,” the court said in its ruling.
“The state’s argument is not persuasive, and we are persuaded that the burden of proof is on the state to demonstrate the harm to voting rights caused by a change in the way that voters are registered.”
The Associated Press reported that the federal court decision is a reversal of a decision by the court of appeals that was upheld in a lawsuit brought by the plaintiffs.
That ruling said that the court had ruled that states have a “strong interest in making sure that people have the ability to vote” and that there is a “compelling interest in ensuring that those who are eligible to vote are registered and cast ballots.”
The court did not address whether the states had a compelling interest in voter fraud prevention.
The decision came after a trial last year in which a jury found that the registration requirement in Colorado had no evidence of preventing voter fraud and was therefore not a burden.
The plaintiffs in the case argued that they were not able to prove that voter fraud in the state was minimal, because they did not show that there was a “significant reduction” in voter registration or the use of provisional ballots.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the election case in June.