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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Senate Democratic leader asks attorney general whether Supreme Court’s voter decision affects Kansas

June 18, 2013

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— A legislative leader on Tuesday asked Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to issue a legal opinion on whether the state's proof of citizenship requirement to register to vote is valid now that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar law in another state.

On Monday, the high court ruled 7-2 that an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote was pre-empted by the federal voter registration law, which does not require documentation of citizenship.

But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who pushed for the Kansas law, said the Kansas law remained valid because it was different from the Arizona law.

Under the Arizona law, officials must reject any voter registration application that is not accompanied by documented proof of citizenship. The Kansas law says the voter registration forms are accepted but the people still can't vote until they show proof of citizenship.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, said he wants Schmidt, a Republican, to weigh in on the issue.

In a letter to Schmidt, Hensley said, "Specifically, I am requesting your opinion as to whether the proof of citizenship requirement contained in Kansas law is invalid in light of the United State Supreme Court decision" in the Arizona case.

Schmidt's office said the attorney general doesn't comment on requests for attorney general opinions.

The ACLU, which fought against the Arizona law, said the Supreme Court ruling was a victory for voters and may affect the Kansas law.

“This decision raises important questions about Kansas’ restrictive law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote; questions that the ACLU will address as we determine how best to ensure that Kansas is in compliance with today’s decision and federal law," said Gary Brunk, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri.

Supporters of proof of citizenship requirements say they are needed to prevent voter fraud. But opponents said the requirement creates a hurdle to voting, especially for people who have difficulty or are unable to get the necessary documentation, such as a birth certificate, to prove citizenship.

Comments

parrothead8 1 year, 6 months ago

"Schmidt's office said the attorney general doesn't comment on requests for attorney general opinions."

That's a shame, because it seems like the attorney general would be the most qualified person to make those comments.

George_Braziller 1 year, 6 months ago

Schmidt is the elected Attorney General for the State of Kansas and his office says that he doesn't comment on requests for attorney general opinions.

Are you serious? He's the elected attorney for the State of Kansas!

Insert Droopy Dog voice here: "Oh, my this is an issue I should deal with but I don't want to upset anyone so I'll just ignore it."

John Kyle 1 year, 6 months ago

I think Schmidt is saying that he will not make a comment on the 'request' for an opinion. I assume they still plan to look into it and render an opinion but they will not comment at this time.

William Enick 1 year, 6 months ago

I agree...It takes time to count to nine using both hands. Thats the amount of fraudulent votes that were cast.

John Kyle 1 year, 6 months ago

"But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who pushed for the Kansas law, said the Kansas law remained valid because it was different from the Arizona law."

The Secretary of State's opinion is irrelevant as is the Secretary himself.

Patricia Davis 1 year, 6 months ago

Oh, I have many reasons but Kris the Perfect born fully formed on the head of Zeus (although I don't think Kobach is a native American name and how did he get here?) and baby face Schmidt are two.

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 6 months ago

Kobach is free to disagree with the US Supreme Court, but he is not free to disobey the Court.

speedy47 1 year, 6 months ago

Apparently our legislature is above Fed law...education finance for example.

jafs 1 year, 6 months ago

What's the enforcement mechanism exactly?

Seems to me that if states and/or federal legislatures ignore SC decisions, there isn't a clear enforcement mechanism, and we have a sort of crisis.

Lefty54 1 year, 6 months ago

Arizona just figured out that Kobach is a fraud. Eventually Kansas will figure it out too.

Bob Forer 1 year, 6 months ago

Poor Arizona. They gave Kobach all that money and all they have to show for it is a unfavorable Supreme Court decision.

Bob Forer 1 year, 6 months ago

Kinda odd, if you ask me. Kobach used to teach constitutional law at UMKC Law SChool, yet he advises Arizona on the passage of a law that is found to be unconstitutional. UMKC has always had a reputation as a third-rate law school. These recent events certainly don't do anything to refute that reputation.

SpeedRacer 1 year, 6 months ago

These states knew the laws were unconstitutional when they passed the, They paid Kobach the grifter money to try to word them so they could get them past SCOTUS; didn't work.

snitty 1 year, 6 months ago

Thanks ACLU for fighting against these Jim Crow / Kris Kobach laws!

SouthWestKs 1 year, 6 months ago

I hate to tell you guys but you lost this Supreme Court decision.. But then again you will soon find out.. Don't expect the AG to say the Kansas law is bad.. Hope you all are staying cool, also don't drive into water..

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