voter registration

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.

U.S. Dept. of Justice [Public domain] / Wikimedia Commons

Kansans who registered to vote using a federal form without providing citizenship documentation will still not be able to vote in state elections despite the latest U.S. Supreme Court action.

The justices on Monday rejected an appeal from Republican officials in Kansas and Arizona who have sought to have federal elections officials enforce state laws requiring new voters to submit a birth certificate, passport or other papers documenting U.S. citizenship.

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.

Updated on 8/27/14:

Only one Kansan who registered using the federal voter form without proof of citizenship actually cast a ballot in the Aug. 5 primaries.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach said yesterday that of the 180 Kansans who used the federal registration form without providing documentation, only one of them voted - in Johnson County. Under the state's dual system, only their votes cast in the federal races would be counted.

A federal appeals court in Denver is suggesting that a partisan impasse in Congress may prevent Kansas and Arizona from getting federal elections officials to help them impose proof-of-citizenship requirements on voter registration forms.

The three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted that Congress has not confirmed commissioners to sit on the Elections Assistance Commission. That body's staff refused to include Kansas and Arizona's instructions on its voter registration form, triggering a federal lawsuit.

Carla Eckels

The primary election is underway in Sedgwick County. Polls open at 6:00 a.m. Residents will be able to cast their ballots along the two major party lines.

Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says voters who already belong to a political party must vote that party. She says residents who are unaffiliated can go to the polls and declare at that time.

The primary election will be held on Tuesday and nearly 4,000 Sedgwick County residents are still considered incomplete registrants. People who filled out registration forms and have not provided proof of citizenship need to send in a copy of a birth certificate, passport or other document in order to vote. 

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.

New figures from the Kansas secretary of state’s office show that Republicans have maintained their significant voter-registration advantage since March.

But the preliminary numbers released Wednesday also show a small increase in the number of unaffiliated voters since March 1. The registration deadline for the August 5 primary was Tuesday.

Kansas Voter Breakdown

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.

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