Archive for Monday, June 24, 2013

Problems arise with requiring proof of citizenship to vote

June 24, 2013


— Problems in Kansas' requirement for new voters to prove citizenship have surfaced just six months after the law took effect.

Since Jan. 1, 11,101 people who have attempted to register to vote are in "suspense," meaning they are not yet qualified to vote, because of lack of proof of citizenship, according to the Kansas Secretary of State's office. During that same time period, 20,780 voters have been added to the rolls, which means approximately one of three voter registration applications have not been finalized.

An analysis of the 370 in suspense in Douglas County shows that 339 are because of lack of citizenship documentation, according to Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew. Of those 370 in suspense, 310 came from registrations at the state's Division of Motor Vehicles, where people getting driver's licenses often register to vote.

Shew said that when people show proof of U.S. citizenship to get a driver's license at the Division of Motor Vehicles, the citizenship documentation is not making it to election officials for voter registration purposes.

The cause of that problem is unclear.

Under the DMV's $40 million upgrade to the computer system that handles driver's licenses, the project was supposed to allow the division to store electronic copies of birth certificates and other documents proving a driver's citizenship and transfer them to election officials as needed. But that hasn't happened yet, Shew said.

Without the documents, election officials then have to send letters and contact those people to get their voter registration cleared up, Shew said.

"There are quite a few in suspense across the state, and we (in Douglas County) are no different than that," Shew said. The 370 voter registrations in suspense in Douglas County come out of approximately 1,000 applications. That is 37 percent of registrations in suspense since the new requirement took effect.

"The large number ... right now is a concern among election officers throughout the state. And that is just within a 6 month time in an off season. What does that number look like in an election season?" Shew said.

But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he is confident the system will soon be seamless.

"We are doing everything we can," Kobach said.

The proof of citizenship requirement drew political attention last week after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an Arizona law that requires new voters to show proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Despite the ruling, Kobach, a Republican who pushed for the Kansas law, said the Kansas law is different than the Arizona law and remains valid. Democratic leaders have requested a legal opinion from Attorney General Derek Schmidt on whether it is.

The Kansas proof-of-citizenship law requires people who register to vote in the state for the first time to provide a birth certificate, passport or other document.

The goal, Kobach said, was to have a system where the DMV "without any human touching a button" automatically transferred proof-of-citizenship documents to election officials at the time when a person comes in to get a driver's license. But that hasn't happened yet. Kobach said those documents are being transferred by email, but Shew said that simply is not the case.

Jeannine Koranda, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Revenues, which includes the DMV, said, "We send confirmation to the SOS's (secretary of state) office then they are to supply it to the election clerks. The SOS's office said that meets the requirements."

Kobach said regulations are being worked on that would allow people whose registration is in suspense to be able to cast a provisional ballot. But that ballot would not be counted unless the necessary proof-of-citizenship documents are provided to election officials prior to the canvassing of the vote after the election.

Kobach said one reason why there is a large number of those registrations in suspense may be because those people see no urgency now to provide that documentation because there is no big election on the horizon.

Louis Goseland, coordinator of the KanVote Coalition, which has been working to repeal the Kansas law, says there is nothing in the law that would allow Kobach to establish regulations to allow voters in suspense to cast a provisional ballot.

"He (Kobach) rearranges things in the (law) as a way to avoid confrontations," Goseland said.

And Shew said it is questionable if a regulation could be written to do what Kobach says he wants. The law says that to be able to cast a ballot, a person must be a qualified voter, said Shew. If they aren't registered to vote, how could they be a qualified voter, he said.

Critics of the proof of citizenship requirement say it creates obstacles to voting, especial for low-income and elderly residents because sometimes it is difficult to secure a birth certificate or other document. Kobach says the proof of citizenship requirement will prevent election fraud by ensuring that illegal immigrants don't register to vote.

Kansas has approximately 1.7 million voters, and fewer than 10 cases have been reported over the past 10 years of non-citizens voting or attempting to vote.


Mike1949 4 years, 12 months ago

Maybe those people are angry because they have already shown their proof once. Now you tell them once isn't enough? I would be angry too, and I mean big time! I as a citizen question the legality of the law in the first place, and then having to provide proof more than once! .

question4u 4 years, 12 months ago

"Kobach says the proof of citizenship requirement will prevent election fraud by ensuring that illegal immigrants don't register to vote."

Not illegal "immigrants": Kris meant illegal "aliens." He wants to stop the problem of Martians voting in Kansas. Sure that's not a REAL problem, but since when has that stopped Kobach.

somebodynew 4 years, 12 months ago

Easy. KK won't be involved in the healthcare. That should take care of most of the problems (real or imagined).

Mike1949 4 years, 11 months ago

Maybe brownback will give all the rich people tax breaks and tax the poor and elderly so they will die off instead of voting!

Keith 4 years, 12 months ago

"We are doing everything we can," Kobach said.

Doing everything he can to impede voting that is.

tomatogrower 4 years, 12 months ago

Maybe if he stayed home and worked at his job instead of writing unconstitutional laws for other states, it would get done. I know he is insured through the state, so we would have to pay to defend him in a lawsuit, but I still hope he gets sued.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 12 months ago

I am certain and for sure that Kobach is doing att that he can (and anything that he cannot) to prevent voters who might vote Democratic in Kansas to be prevented from excercising their right to vote.

Kate Rogge 4 years, 12 months ago

I agree. At what point does it become a criminal act to obstruct voters in a Federal election?

Left_of_Lawrence 4 years, 12 months ago

Is it safe to transfer Birth Certificate or Passport information by email?

chootspa 4 years, 12 months ago

I'm shocked, shocked to discover that exactly what we told you was going to happen with this new law is now happening.

tomatogrower 4 years, 12 months ago

Apparently you didn't read the article. The people did follow the simple rule of law. It's the computer system for which a Texas company bilked us millions in tax dollars. You know, one of those private sector companies that are suppose to be so efficient and wonderful.

Lefty54 4 years, 12 months ago

The main problem is that the people of the state of Kansas elected a complete doofus as Secretary of State.

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 11 months ago

I don't know about you, itsjusme, but I think that if you have American citizenship you should get to vote. In fact, I think the government should not deny American citizens the right to vote without having to go to a judge and explain why your right should be restricted. You know, for reason of conviction of a felony or some such thing.

Greg Cooper 4 years, 12 months ago

Reading comprehension: they already did and the State of Kansas has not been able to use it due to its own malfeasance. These people apparently did want to vote and followed the law by producing the correct documentation, and Kansas "lost", "misplaced" or otherwise did not put it to its lawful use.

How does that fit with your Republicanism?

BigAl 4 years, 12 months ago

"Kansas has approximately 1.7 million voters, and fewer than 10 cases have been reported over the past 10 years of non-citizens voting or attempting to vote."

This is my complaint. I don't have a problem showing my ID to vote but just don't tell me that there is a problem. Kobach is giving us a solution to a problem we don't have. Stop wasting our tax dollars on a non-issue.

globehead 4 years, 12 months ago

Perfect point. Exactly like the same clowns who wasted time and dollars preventing the enactment of Sharia Law in Kansas, thwarting the practices of hundreds of thousands of Kansas farmers and others who have shown a strong tendency to tilt towards the practice of Islam over the past few years. Thank God (Allah) we're saved from these non existent problems before they even become non existent problems. These are the kinds of items which will appear on the election flyers of these clowns so we can run out and vote for them again, at least the 50% of us citizens who even decide to vote while condemning the 80 or so people who weren't qualified to do so. Shoot! I never even recall that the minimal, microscopic few who were detected as non qualified we even immigrant, legal or otherwise. For all we know, they were from Missouri, and given their collective meth addiction, I'd just a soon have an illegal immigrant casting a vote.

Lefty54 4 years, 12 months ago

Do you understand that the immigration bill was not written by President Obama? Apparently not. The immigration bill was written by the so called "Gang of Eight". Who is on the gang of 8? Republican Marco Rubio, republican John McCain, republican Lindsey Graham, republican John Flake and 4 democrats.
Most reasonable Senators from both parties support it and Obama supports it. But Obama did not write it. And Brownback is still the worst Governor since Joan Finney.

Lefty54 4 years, 12 months ago

You need to work on your reading comprehension. I clearly said Obama supports it. You clearly implied Obama wrote it. You are clearly wrong. 4 republicans and 4 democrats wrote it. Complain to McCain and Rubio if you don't like it.

tomatogrower 4 years, 12 months ago

They put that crud in the bill to appease the Republican tea party people. They also included a huge amount of money to double the border patrol and build more of that stupid wall. All to appease the tea party Republicans and try and win their vote. So much for economic conservative values. They are willing to pay for the employees they have now, how are they going to pay for more? And the illegal movement across the border has slowed, at least coming in this direction. More and more are going home, because there are no jobs, and if you are going to go hungry, you might as well do it at home. There are still a lot of families and their children who have been productive citizens, although illegal for many years. The children don't even speak Spanish anymore, and they should have some path to citizenship. Even your hero Bush recognized this and wanted some solution, but go shut down by his own party.

BigAl 4 years, 12 months ago

Pheps, with all due respect, you still haven't responded to the facts of this article:

"Kansas has approximately 1.7 million voters, and fewer than 10 cases have been reported over the past 10 years of non-citizens voting or attempting to vote."

The only thing obvious from your posts is your deep hatred for President Obama. President Obama has nothing to do with the current voter laws in Kansas.

Your hatred for Obama is telling.

globehead 4 years, 11 months ago

Fine! Now, exactly where in my entry did you see where I indicated that I "cherish Obama"? This news article was not about Obama. It was about Kobach and his dalliance with voter ID. I don't ever recall writing anywhere that I cherish Obama. Thanks though for pulling the trigger, then aiming. It all makes perfect sense given the political climate in this state..

tomatogrower 4 years, 12 months ago

If Kobach is going to stop all this rampant voter fraud going on, can we expect a complete change in government the next election? Is voter fraud how the Republicans have kept control of the state all these years? That explains a lot.

Joshua Montgomery 4 years, 12 months ago

So we are disenfranchising over ten thousand Kansans in order to prevent one or two cases of voter fraud per election?

This absolutely has to stop. Is anyone suing in Kansas to get the state's law under judicial review? or are we going to wait for Kris Kobach to back down?

I do believe Hades will freeze before Mr. Kobach retreats on this issue. He has made it the centerpiece of his national identity and cannot change course with out being publicly ruined.

bad_dog 4 years, 11 months ago

SCOTUS approval of the process does not itself establish a justification for identification.

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