Archive for Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kansas, Arizona file lawsuit seeking to protect proof-of-citizenship requirement to register to vote

August 21, 2013, 2:55 p.m. Updated August 21, 2013, 6:06 p.m.


— Kansas and Arizona joined forces today in filing a federal lawsuit demanding that the two states be allowed to require proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Related document

Kobach's lawsuit on proof of citizenship ( .PDF )

“Voting is the most cherished right of U.S. citizenship and we take seriously our obligation to protect that right and to secure that right and to guard it closely so that only citizens exercise that right to vote,” said Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The lawsuit by Kobach and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett seeks a court order requiring the United States Election Assistance Commission to modify the federal voter registration form to include those states’ requirements that a person provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, to register to vote. The federal voter registration form only requires an applicant to make an oath affirming citizenship.

Kobach said the lawsuit will address a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that knocked down Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship law. Kobach said that Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in that case paved the way for states to petition the Election Assistance Commission to make state-specific instructions on the federal form that will require proof of citizenship. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Topeka and would only affect Kansas and Arizona.

But the issue is clouded because the Election Assistance Commission does not have any commissioners and a bill in Congress would eliminate the agency.

Kobach, however, says the EAC’s staff can grant the states’ request.

Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voter registrations took effect Jan. 1.

About 15,000 registrations are in limbo because the proof-of-citizenship process hasn’t been completed.

Until the litigation is resolved, Kobach said there will be two groups of voters in Kansas who have registered to vote since Jan. 1 — those who have documented proof of citizenship will be able to vote in all elections, and those who haven’t will be allowed to vote only in federal elections.

Last week, The American Civil Liberties Union notified Kobach that it will file a lawsuit if the state doesn’t address those new voter registrations.

Doug Bonney, legal director for the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, said the organization would oppose Kobach’s attempt to get the federal government to approve of Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship requirement.

The federal voter registration form requires a person to swear they are a citizen under threat of the penalty for perjury.

“That has been acceptable for scores of years, and there is no problem of voter-citizenship fraud,” Bonney said. He said there is no evidence that non-citizens are falsely signing those citizenship declarations.

Of Kobach’s statement that he will divide voters between those eligible to vote in all elections, and those who can vote only in federal elections, Bonney said, “I’m not sure he has such authority under Kansas law.”


Uhjh 4 years, 9 months ago

What a joke – embarrassing! A lot of time and money wasted fighting a nonexistent foe.

nekansan 4 years, 9 months ago

I find is perplexing that the same people who loose their mind over any kind of ID requirements, background checks or owner registry for firearms find similar requirements so important when exercising our right to vote right granted us by the same constitution.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Ok. And, owning a gun doesn't elect politicians.

Still, given that we consider both constitutional rights, doesn't it make sense to have similar guidelines to ensure that only those possessing those rights exercise them?

Rick Hird 4 years, 9 months ago

This is a solution looking for a problem. If 15k Kansans can't vote because of Kobach, he should be removed from office immediately and forced to move to Arizona.

cowboy 4 years, 9 months ago

There truly should be an audit of Kobach's expenses and time in office , no way can this rube not be spending state resources to fuel his one man unconstitutional crusade.

Catalano 4 years, 9 months ago

So, does this mean our state Attorney General doesn't have to make a ruling now (as requested by state Senator Hensley)?

Catalano 4 years, 9 months ago

I would assume so. It was a semi-rhetorical question.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

Ah. yes, this political wonk has not been in the news lately, time to find another diversion to make headlines!!

Let's file a suit at the tax payers expense for some flimsy excuse of political posturing and to try to supress the voting rights in the entire nation!! What a deal!!

Is there any way this idiot can be impeached for wasting taxpayer money in Kansas and attempting to suppress the votes of those who might vote Democratic??

William Weissbeck 4 years, 9 months ago

I used to think of Kansas as God's country. Not literally, as some do now, but as the best place to live. If you were a Kansan, you were always a Kansan no matter where you moved. We had the responsibility as Kansans to be a little forward thinking and tolerant (without being wildly avant-garde). Hell, Jayhawks got along with Wildcats and we let Tigers visit the state. There were Republicans and Democrats, but it was more a family thing - either your grand parents voted for Bryan and FDR or they didn't. It was a tradition not an ideology. Oh where did we go so wrong?

Patricia Davis 4 years, 9 months ago

When we stood idly by as the evangelicals/libertarians took over the republican party and too many still voted straight R anyway. It's time for this state to rally to take our state back.

olddognewtrix 4 years, 9 months ago

Kobach is a desperate sore loser, who tilts at windmills at any excuse.

chootspa 4 years, 9 months ago

Another example of your fiscally conservative government at work!

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

Neither Brownback nor Kobach are fiscal conservative just big government spenders of big bucks that belong to others. Yes reckless indeed.

Sparko 4 years, 9 months ago

Now this is economic policy! Kansas is being ruined by the Brownback-Koch clown show.

Brad Greenwood 4 years, 9 months ago

Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-Dee... together again!

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