voter ID laws

Carla Eckels

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday they won't hear a lawsuit that looked to add proof of citizenship requirements to federal registration forms in both Kansas and Arizona.

The fight over a voter proof-of-citizenship law that prevented about 22,000 Kansas residents from casting ballots on Election Day has shifted back to state courts and lawmakers.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned a judge's order that added citizenship documentation requirements on national voter registration forms used by Kansas and Arizona voters.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach has championed the state law as a way to limit fraud; opponents argue that it wrongfully disenfranchises voters.

Pity poor Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. He finds himself recently in the unenviable situation of having to argue against his own intentions. Here is a man who has spent years working feverishly to keep certain people from voting. 

This week, a 92-year-old Johnson County woman had her voter registration approved by the Kansas State Election Board.

A law that took effect last year says people who register for the first time in Kansas must provide proof of citizenship. Her voter registration was initially put on hold because she doesn't have any of the required documents. 

As Stephen Koranda reports, this situation illustrates a political divide over the law. Some people say it's a hindrance, others say it secures elections and has protections built in for Kansans who don't have the documents.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s opponent in the Republican primary predicts that a “dual” voting system for helping Kansas enforce a proof-of-citizenship rule will confuse voters and suppress turnout.

Challenger Scott Morgan's criticism Tuesday of the Kobach-designed system came a day after the secretary of state's office began mailing notices to dozens of voters about it. The voters registered using a national form without providing proof of their U.S. citizenship to election officials.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach are heading to court again in their battle over Kobach’s attempts to enforce a proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters.

The ACLU hopes a Shawnee County judge will use Friday’s hearing to review its request for a temporary injunction to keep Kobach from imposing a new policy for the state’s Aug. 5 primary elections.

Kobach has said that Kansas residents who register with a national form will be allowed to complete full ballots, but only their votes in congressional races will be counted.

Kansas and Arizona say they have a sovereign right to require proof of citizenship for voting residents of their states, even for federal elections.

The two states urged the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday to lift the emergency stay it issued last week.

The appeals court had halted a ruling from U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren, whose ruling required the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to modify its federal voter registration form for Kansas and Arizona residents.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily suspended an order requiring Kansas and Arizona residents to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote with a national form.

The federal appeals court granted the emergency request by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and voting rights groups.

Yesterday’s decision means Kansas and Arizona voters can continue to register to vote using the federal form without having to document their citizenship.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Wichita refused stay his order for federal election officials to immediately enforce Kansas and Arizona laws requiring new voters to document their U.S. citizenship.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren denied the requests from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and voting rights groups to stay his ruling while the case goes to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Melgren ordered the commission to proceed without delay on his March directive to immediately modify its national voter registration form.

A federal trial has been scheduled in a lawsuit challenging a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

U.S. Magistrate Gerald Rushfelt in Kansas City set a schedule this week for hearing the lawsuit.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is being sued by northeast Kansas residents Arthur Spry and Charles Hamner.

Both live in a retirement home in Overbrook.

The suit says neither man had a driver’s license, computer or access to the birth records needed to secure a photo ID.

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