Archive for Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Court won’t reconsider Kansas, Arizona citizenship lawsuit

December 30, 2014, 10:37 a.m. Updated December 30, 2014, 11:43 a.m.

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— A federal appeals court has refused to reconsider a decision allowing residents of Kansas and Arizona to register to vote using a federal form without providing proof of their U.S. citizenship.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued a one-sentence ruling denying a request from the two states.

The appeals court ruled in November that Kansas and Arizona cannot demand help from federal officials in enforcing state laws requiring new voters to submit a birth certificate or other papers documenting U.S. citizenship.

The same panel overturned a ruling in March by U.S. District Court Judge Eric Melgren requiring the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to revise its federal voter registration form for those states to require proof of citizenship.

The decision means, for the time being at least, that Kansas can continue conducting a “dual” election system in which people who register to vote using the federal registration form may only vote in federal elections.

In 2011, at the urging of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Kansas lawmakers passed a law requiring new voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote for the first time in their county. That law also required voters to show photo ID at the polls. The proof-of-citizenship requirement took effect in January 2013.

During the 2014 elections, more than 20,000 would-be voters had their registrations placed “in suspense” and were not allowed to vote because they had registered using the state form but had not provided the required citizenship documentation. A handful of voters who had registered using the federal form were allowed to vote in congressional races, but not in state or local elections.

In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case involving Arizona that states must accept the federal registration form, and that they could request the Election Assistance Commission to provide a revised federal form that would ask for proof of citizenship.

Both Kansas and Arizona made such requests but they were denied. The states then sued, seeking an order to compel the EAC to provide revised forms.

There was no immediate word from either Kobach or Attorney General Derek Schmidt on whether the state would appeal again to the U.S. Supreme Court.

— Peter Hancock contributed to this story.

Comments

Stuart Sweeney 3 years ago

How much have these knotheads cost us now? King marched on Selma Alabama because out of 10,000 registered voters only 330 were black. Do we need to march on these lying knotheads to get them to admit they want to suppress the vote and reverse the poor judgment they have exhibited?

Randall Uhrich 3 years ago

If the politicians won't do the right thing, it's up to the courts to step up and declare fair and just mandates. If not for this, the south would still be segregated and many segments of society wouldn't be able to vote. Thank God that some facets of our democracy work, even if the legislative and executive fail regularly.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

Peter Hancock, can you find out for us fellow citizens how much this senseless but expensive goose chase has cost Kansas?

This is important information for budget-conscious citizens to know. Personally, I think with upcoming budgetary cuts looming on the state's horizon, I think that this amount should be the minimum deducted from the Secretary of State's budget, with some serious additional deductions for compensate for damages to the state's character. Any sensible Kansan knew the outcome of this challenge before it was ever filed.

Cille King 3 years ago

I recall that the Douglas County Clerk requested an additional $30,000 to cover the increase staff, copying and mailings.

Ken Lassman 3 years ago

And that's just for one county. I was also looking for how much monies in legal fees were racked up by the state in their failed challenges and appeals with the various judicial levels to petition that the feds change their requirements to match/change their voter registration forms.

Greg Cooper 3 years ago

Ask Trabert. He made an appearance yesterday. I'm sure his answer (should he be gutsy enough to offer one) will make things clear.

Greg Cooper 3 years ago

It seems strange to me that Kansas has established a guilty until proven innocent structure in voting rights. It is necessary to prove your innocence of voting fraud before you are allowed to vote. Each and every voter is presumed, under Kansas law, to be guilty of voter fraud unless he proves to the state's satisfaction that he is eligible. What would happen if every driver had to pay a speeding fine before driving and only be able to get it back if she did not speed? What would we think of a law that automatically had everyone entering a retail establishment arrested and only set free if he left without stealing?

See, we have a separate judicial arm in Kansas which is tasked with overseeing crime. That is NOT the office of the Secretary of State nor the governor, whomever they may be. In both criminal and civil law, a wrong must be identified before it can be brought to the judicial branch, not the other way around and then proven to be a wrong. This business of the state presuming that a brown-skinned or yellow-skinned or foreign-speaking person is perpetrating voter fraud is wrong, it's profiling, and it needs to stop in favor of the SOS doing its job and staying out of judicial processes. Not one iota of evidence has been presented that indicates that voting fraud is a problem of any proportion in Kansas, and the scare tactics of the ultra- silly, who masquerade as Republicans, do not change that.

This law is a power grab and only that. It costs money, divides the citizenry, depresses voting by thousands, and means nothing other than "I do it because I can" by the power hungry in the state to garner the support of the potential voters who do no research and listen only to those who build on the ignorance of those voters.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years ago

"It seems strange to me that Kansas has established a guilty until proven innocent structure in voting rights." And that's why it should be declared unconstitutional.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years ago

So when is some court (any court, ANYWHERE!!) going to knock down this fascist that the clueless electorate of Kansas has re-elected?? I get tired of hearing about the antics of this dolt and his failure to do the job to which he was elected.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years ago

And how much of the state's scarce revenue is being spent on these guys chasing windmills in pursuit of their quest to prevent voters who may vote Democratic from voting??

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