Archive for Monday, June 17, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court strikes down voter registration law similar to the one in Kansas

June 17, 2013, 10:39 a.m. Updated June 17, 2013, 5:19 p.m.


— The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a law, similar to one in Kansas, that requires proof of citizenship to register to vote.

The dispute was over a law in Arizona called Proposition 200 that requires would-be voters to document their U.S. citizenship to register to vote under the federal "Motor Voter" registration law.

Writing for the 7-2 majority, Justice Antonin Scalia ruled that federal law "precludes Arizona from requiring a federal form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself."

While the case focuses on Arizona, officials said it has implications for Kansas, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, which have similar laws.

"The proof of citizenship requirement in Kansas is almost identical to that of Arizona," said Louis Goseland, coordinator for the KanVote Coalition, which has been working to repeal the Kansas law.

He said the Supreme Court decision was "a victory for those who champion voter rights and a defeat for those who try to restrict the vote."

Goseland said he hopes Kansas legislators will now repeal the law. As of Jan. 1, any person registering to vote in Kansas for the first time is required to provide proof of U.S. citizenship.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who works across the nation on anti-immigration and voting legislation, was instrumental in getting the law passed in Kansas and has defended the Arizona statute.

Kobach said the U.S. Supreme Court decision should have no impact on the Kansas law because the Kansas proof of citizenship requirement was drafted to avoid the legal issues that beset the Arizona law.

Kobach, a former University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor, said the Kansas law doesn’t automatically reject federal voter registration forms, as the Arizona law did. Instead, Kansas election officials hold the forms until a person’s citizenship can be verified.

That holding pattern is called "suspended status."

But Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said the proof of citizenship requirement is causing problems that may frustrate voters and cost taxpayers more money to fix.

The problem, Shew said, is that just six months after the new requirements took effect, there are quite a few would-be voters whose registration is in the suspended status. That's because when people show proof of citizenship to get a driver's license, the state's Division of Motor Vehicles is unable to forward those documents to election officials. Election officials then have to send letters and contact those people to get their voter registration cleared up.

"The large number of suspended voters right now is a concern among election officials throughout the state," Shew said.

Anticipating that this problem will grow with next year's election cycle, Shew said he has requested additional funds for outreach and temporary help.

There are 360 voter registrations in suspended status in Douglas County, and approximately 10,000 statewide, although officials say it is impossible to tell how many are suspended because of the lack of citizenship documentation.


Centerville 4 years, 11 months ago

They only need to aver (swear) they are citizens under penalty of perjury. That’s the Federal Form law/usage.

Arizona requires proof of citizenship for state level elections. They can continue to do so at state level, but for federal elections a simple attest to citizenship is the law.

So if Arizona wants to go after voter fraud, they are going to have to make the effort post election to investigate under probable cause those who are not registered to vote in state elections, but registered to vote in federal elections.

Also, the ruling advises Arizona on how to correct the technical problem and attain the same result.

notajayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

In light of the fact that the Supreme Court has upheld voter ID laws, exactly how does this make sense? When you get to the voting site, you have to prove your name is John Smith, but you never had to prove that John Smith is eligible to vote???

dontsheep 4 years, 11 months ago

Meanwhile, at Kobach's home over the weekend. His kids were reported to be inside at the time. Where's the coverage LJW?

Who invaded you ask? These fine folks.

Notice their guiding principles. Especially the one that says, "Everyone should have human rights, including food, shelter, medical care, education, and a job."

and then this one. "The common good is more important than privilege for a few."

Pretty sure this idiotic thinking is what leads to millions of people dead...

Bike 4 years, 11 months ago

Many articles around. No one home everywhere I read. Mr. K's response was to thank 2'nd amendment rights. Good model might be Operation Rescue protests at Dr.'s homes and offices.

Bruce Bertsch 4 years, 11 months ago

Its still Kobach's solution seeking a problem. Its a waste as is the current Secy of State in Kansas.

Larrytown 4 years, 11 months ago

Let me be the first, of many, in writing that I'm absolutely shocked by this news. The fact that Kris Kobach (world-renowed constitutional scholar) helped write the Arizona law...I figured it was all but certain to be upheld by the Supreme Court.

Sarcasm meter turned off....

Patricia Davis 4 years, 11 months ago

Finally! We have proof that Kris Kobach did not write the Constitution. Just another reason why Kobach does not need to be given the right to prosecute voter fraud. It's not our fault republicans voted in an inexperienced attorney as attorney general who would probably mess his pants in front of the Supreme Court.

Anthony Mall 4 years, 11 months ago

How is making sure that people voting are citizens or asking for proof of citizenship a bad thing? Never understood the uproar with showing an ID or proving you are who you say you are when you vote on matters of federal and state leaders! I'm sorry, but if your not here legally you shouldn't be voting! Mind boggling I know...

gatekeeper 4 years, 11 months ago

This isn't about showing ID, your basic ID doesn't prove citizenship. I shouldn't have to show my birth cert to get registered to vote. You can whine all you want, but 7 Supreme Court justices agreed (including those in Kobach's party). There is that testy document called the constitution that stops these right wing wackos from passing laws that infringe on our basic rights.

Keith 4 years, 11 months ago

I like the way you flail about as you lose an argument, it's amusing.

Anthony Mall 4 years, 11 months ago

It is not about winning or losing. It's about a simple process that needs to happen in this country. It wont be an issue to liberals until they become a victim of it! Then it will be the Koch brothers or some giant conspiracy.

Frank A Janzen 4 years, 11 months ago

"you're" not "your" -- "Citizens for Correct Grammar"

Jeremiah Jefferson 4 years, 11 months ago

What is so hard about showing your ID for voting. You have to show it for everything else in this country. If you buy smokes, booze, cash a check, write a check use a credit or debit card, buy a car, drive a car, walk around in public, everything you do you have to have an ID for. So why not for voting. No disrespect to the Hispanic people, they are a great people and make the best food, but the supreme court got it wrong this time.

gatekeeper 4 years, 11 months ago

Your reading comprehension is very poor. Reread the article, then you can remove your post. Do you know what ID is vs voter registration????

On ID, the only time in the last few years I've been asked to show ID was when I voted in Lawrence. Don't write checks, don't buy smokes, never get carded for booze, don't get asked to show it when using my debit or credit cards. Yes, I have an ID, but rarely use it. Having to take my elderly mother to get a new ID so she could vote was beyond stupid. Made an arthritic old lady who doesn't drive stand in line for almost 3 hours to get her ID so she could hand it to her neighbor of 40 years who worked at the polling station so she could vote.

That's one reason voter ID is stupid. Another is the fact that voter fraud rarely, if ever, happens. Hmmm, how many voter fraud cases have been prosecuted in KS?

Smoke and mirrors to try to keep minority dems from voting.

Anthony Mall 4 years, 11 months ago

So sorry she had to wait a couple hours... That's rough, especially when in other parts of the world they wait days, walk miles, just for the right to vote... When poll workers are being charged and pleading guilty to felony voter fraud, when immigration is an issue, and when your voting in a country where party lines a clearly drawn I would think you would want the most secure voting laws in the world... Guess not

Gary Anderson 4 years, 11 months ago

Provide links to reputable sites about this accusation...

Anthony Mall 4 years, 11 months ago

Look up Ohio voter fraud for yourself...

Anthony Mall 4 years, 11 months ago

What we have doesn't work... That's been proven in multiple cases. No reason why a person can't register to vote by proving they are a legal citizen and able to vote (no felony disqualifying convictions) and show an ID when voting! If my 91 year old grandfather can accomplish this task so can everyone else. Fix it once, fix it right, and stop the whole issue. No more political recounts, accusations, poll workers, dead people voting, people being transported to vote in other precincts, nothing!

Anthony Mall 4 years, 11 months ago

I apologize I cant post a link from my phone. You could take the three seconds and read the story!

Anthony Mall 4 years, 11 months ago

You forget the uproar from liberals during the florida recount? You miss what happen in Minnesota? Why not just fix these issues and show your legal to vote, get registered, show an ID and vote! How is that hard?

Anthony Mall 4 years, 11 months ago

How can that happen if people can't even register or show ID without complaining! Your taking a simple thing and making it a dramatic intrusive process for shock value.

Bike 4 years, 11 months ago

You mean the recount that the SCOTUS halted before it was completed?

Lisa Medsker 4 years, 11 months ago

So let me get this straight... If a person is Hispanic, they are automatically "illegal". If a person is not Hispanic, but speaks another foreign language, they are "legit"? Or anyone who has an accent or a not-lily-white hue is illegal, because there is no way they could have gone through the Naturalization process? Or has The Constitution been changed to say that only American-born, lily-white, non-Spanish speaking people can vote?

koman 4 years, 11 months ago

It's not hard to show an ID when voting, just like it's not hard to close the gun show loophole or even register all guns, but, as the 2nd amendment folks like to say, you can't infringe on the right AT ALL. The arguments are equally thin in both voter id and 2nd amendment. The constitution is so similar to the bible - both were written by old white men, attributed to God, and selectively referred to.

deec 4 years, 11 months ago

" If you buy smokes, booze, cash a check, write a check use a credit or debit card, buy a car, drive a car, walk around in public, "

None of those things is a constitutionally protected right. Voting is. They're not the same thing.

And the only time I've showed an id in the last 3 years was when I got a new job and got a driver's license in the state in which I now live.

Scott Tichenor 4 years, 11 months ago

What, no whining from the extreme right about the conservative Roberts led court of "activist judges?"

Shows how out of touch and how poorly we are represented by Kobach. Hell, even Brownback who I think will drive this state to ruin knows he has a wacko in that office.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Don't get fooled again. Sam ALEC Brownback loves Kobach because he keeps the voters distracted from the Sam ALEC Brownback misguided financial principles. Among other misguided thinking patterns.

Bobby Burch 4 years, 11 months ago

Now Brownback's going to have to make another unconstitutional law saying that the Supreme Court's rulings cannot affect or supersede laws made within Kansas and that federal agents cannot enforce such rulings without penalty ... just like the gun law. Kansas = smh.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Nobody has ever said there is problem with showing ID when voting. No one.

The problem lies within the rt wing mind that make up this nonsense. Furthermore they believe that voters need a special voter ID to eliminate fraud. More absolute nonsense.

Voter fraud can happen with electronic computerized voting devices because they can be programmed to vote wrong. No special voter ID will prevent a computerized voting machine from committing fraud.

This entire concept is a waste of time and a waste of tax dollars which eliminates this rt wing GOP as fiscal conservatives or as fiscal responsible. Try the word reckless.

Let's think back a bit and remember two major home loan fraud programs were under the watch of this new rt wing GOP. Reagan/Bush and Bush/Cheney. It seems to me voting the rt wing GOP out of office nationwide will eliminate a ton of fraud.

smileydog 4 years, 11 months ago

I forgot my password to my email account so I could not advance vote online....I had no idea Obama had my password.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 11 months ago

How many of you have seen someone you suspect voting was an illegal? Likely, no one. This is fiction.

Assuming the majority charging voting fraud accuse illegals from Spanish speaking countries, there are several things that are so blatantly wrong.

  1. Most illegals don't want to be known to the authorities so they haven't registered to vote in the past or present. Why draw attention to yourself? Culturally many haven't exercised the right to vote in their own country, so why would they suddenly want to vote in the US?

  2. Most want to work, work and work some more. They have no desire to live in a country where they are "deemed" second class. The communities where they live lack the social structure they've known all of their lives. They want to make money and eventually go home.

  3. Few want to become citizens and vote, rather, they want to work. This is different for "dreamers" or those born here for whom the US is their culture. They either want to be or are citizens.

I've spoken in Spanish to hundreds who have the potential to be illegals and never has anyone indicated a desire to remain here, unless they were living with or married to a citizen. Their desire is to work and return home. They're good capitalists and hard workers. Seems like that's a valued trait here in the US.

I'm of the opinion that Republicans are paranoid about the numbers and that the Democrats are being unrealistic in assuming that 10+ million illegals want to stay, live for ever in the US and vote Democratic.

smileydog 4 years, 11 months ago

And do they pay taxes, these good capitalists? California used to be a Republican stronghold until they passed immigration reform.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 11 months ago

First, they pay sales taxes and all that included in the payment of utilities, telephone and gasoline. And, I've seen comments by the Social Security Administration which indicate that $50 billion can't be assigned because these funds are associated with bogus social security numbers used by undocumented people. These employers also take out monies for federal and state income taxes.

gccs14r 4 years, 11 months ago

The real vote fraud occurs when the votes are counted. The voting machine manufacturers won't let third parties verify their software, so no one has any idea who voted for whom. All we know is who is declared the winner.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

Another removal, leaving orphans.

Why are some removals noted and others just disappear completely? Did the poster get disappeareded or is there a function I don't know about?

I do not think gccs14r's post is funny. Sad, but not funny at all.

Success 4 years, 11 months ago

Does the United States Constitution prohibit non citizens from voting in local or state elections?

Satirical 4 years, 11 months ago

I find it interesting that the same people demanding more background checks before one may exercise the fundamental right of owning a gun, are so opposed to the same idea before one may exercise the fundamental right of voting.

Alyosha 4 years, 11 months ago

The same people? Wow, you have names to prove that they are actually the same people, as you wrote? That's some good reporting work. Let's see the list of names.

Satirical 4 years, 11 months ago


Here is my list:

(1) Common sense.

Did you wish to opine on my actual argument about obviously contradictory stances? Or, would you rather you duck the issue and continue to play the naming game?

Satirical 4 years, 11 months ago

Also, for those who think the SCOTUS voted that the Arizona violated the US Constitution is wrong. The SCOTUS decided that a federal law preempts the Arizona state law. This ruling was not about whether it is ethical or reasonable to allow common sense background checks before someone can vote.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

My understanding is that federal law trumps is based on the constitution, so Arizona did in fact violate the constitution by passing a law that attempted to trump federal law.

Satirical 4 years, 11 months ago


Of course the Arizona law violated the Supremacy clause, but it didn't violate any rights of any individual. In other words, absent a federal law to the contrary, no rights were violated. When one writes on the LJWorld, one must understand the audience and keep things simple, which was my original purpose.

Jafs, did you truly not understand the distinction I was making, or were you simply being obtuse?

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

Your comment was, at best, unclear then.

Arizona did violate the constitution by trying to trump federal law, since that violates the supremacy clause.

If there weren't a federal law to the contrary, then they wouldn't have violated that, of course.

Satirical 4 years, 11 months ago


I thought the distinction was perfectly obvious given my entire comment, and the context. SCOTUS usually wouldn't even take the case unless it involved some constitutional matter.

Care to opine on my actual statement/argument?

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

What is your actual argument?

First you say that Arizona didn't violate the constitution, and then you admit they did. I can't find any argument there to discuss yet.

Perhaps you mean the part about whether or not it's ethical or reasonable... My understanding is that the SC rules on constitutionality, not ethical/reasonable/etc. So your comment would be irrelevant to the SC, and SC decisions. Personally, I find it reasonable that people should have to prove citizenship, and identity, in order to exercise rights which belong to American citizens. Whether or not it's constitutionally acceptable is a different question, and I'm not sure about that.

Satirical 4 years, 11 months ago

jafs... "What is your actual argument?"

Now I know you are being obtuse in an attempt to appear witty, because I already explained your misunderstanding. Also, I made two comments, so you could pick from either one.

"My understanding is that the SC rules on constitutionality, not ethical/reasonable/etc." - jafs

The SCOTUS can decide on whether someone's rights were violated, which very much looks beyond the four corners of the document (i.e. right to privacy). So, your understanding is incorrect; the SC does rule based on ethics and reasonableness.

Finally, just to be clear, you agree with Kobach?

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

It's not my misunderstanding, it's your lack of clarity and contradictions from one post to the next.

I disagree completely - the SC's role is to rule on constitutionality, not the other criteria you mention, all of which are rather subjective. If they're substituting other criteria like that, then they're not doing their job right. Whether or not "rights" have been violated is a legitimate issue if those rights are constitutionally protected and defined. The court has in fact gone way beyond their correct scope in my opinion over the years.

As I said, I don't know whether or not it's constitutional, but I find it reasonable. But, I wouldn't want the SC to rule it's ok because they agree it's reasonable, if they find it unconstitutional.

Anthony Mall 4 years, 11 months ago

In other news... Another voter fraud case in Indiana involving Obama and Clinton Primary in 2008 comes out today... Shocking how liberals are against it yet the cases keep involving liberals. Very interesting indeed!

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