Archive for Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Judge revives Kansas voting citizenship case, sets aside judgment against Kobach

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach responds to questions outside the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after delivering an argument in the legal fight over how the state of Kansas enforces its proof-of-citizenship requirement for voters who register at motor vehicle offices on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016 in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach responds to questions outside the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after delivering an argument in the legal fight over how the state of Kansas enforces its proof-of-citizenship requirement for voters who register at motor vehicle offices on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016 in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

October 19, 2016, 12:16 p.m. Updated October 19, 2016, 1:14 p.m.

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A federal judge revived on Wednesday a lawsuit challenging a Kansas law requiring prospective voters to prove they are U.S. citizens, saying the case is of constitutional significance and public interest.

"This case deserves to be decided on the merits and not through procedural default," wrote U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson.

She gave Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach a pass for failing to file a timely response to the lawsuit, saying his negligence in missing the deadline was not willful. She set aside a court clerk's default judgment issued last week against the state.

At issue is a Kansas law that requires people who register to vote to provide documentary proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport or naturalization certificate.

Kobach, a conservative Republican, has championed the proof-of-citizenship requirement as an anti-fraud measure that keeps non-citizens from voting, including immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Critics say such requirements suppress voter turnout, particularly among young and minority voters, and that there have been few cases of fraud in the past.

The lawsuit, filed by prospective voter Parker Bednasek, contends the state's proof-of-citizenship requirement violates voters' constitutional right to due legal process and the right to freely travel from state to state by infringing on people's ability to vote and to sign petitions. It states the actions Kobach has taken to verify citizenship status discriminate against people who were born or got married in other states.

Kobach is facing at least four separate lawsuits challenging various aspects of the law.

Also on Wednesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an 85-page opinion that outlined the legal reasoning behind its decision earlier this month in a separate lawsuit that affected people who registered to vote at motor vehicle offices.

The appeals court essentially explained why it upheld Robinson's preliminary injunction requiring the state to register thousands of people for federal elections. That case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several prospective voters and the League of Women Voters.

Comments

Larry Sturm 1 year, 1 month ago

I hope he gets slaped down good for unconstitutional laws.

Laura Wilson 1 year, 1 month ago

Not surprising. It happens all the time. In fact, in the 20 plus years I've worked in the legal field, with my boss filing several thousand defaults in that time, I've never seen a default judgment upheld when the defendant files a late answer. It doesn't look good on Kobach's part that he did so, though.

Michael Kort 1 year, 1 month ago

Too busy advising ? Trump and assisting ? other states officials elsewhere than Ks., to committ voter registration legal scams by creating two different sets of criteria for voters between the older grandfathered groups, who show no proof of birth and citizenship and new first time individuals wanting to register to vote who must show proof of birth and citizenship .

"SCAM THE VOTE" should be Kobachs motto !

Shawn Boultinghouse 1 year, 1 month ago

Kansas has every right to require proof of citizenship, when registering to vote. I for one, have no problem showing my birth certificate to register. You may have to show an ID to get into a movie, buy alcohol, buy cigarettes, get into a bar, etc....... Why would you not have to show proof of citizenship to vote. Other states such as California are registering anybody and everybody. This includes any illegal alien who wants to vote. Kansas cannot trust other states to register only citizens of this country. This crap of just looking the other way has got to come to an end. Call me a hater, bigot, racist or what ever you want. I will have to consider the source.

Jim Slade 1 year, 1 month ago

Do you have to show proof of citizenship to exercise other Constitutional rights?

Do you have to show a birth certificate to have free speech? Or to not have the cops search your house without a warrant? How about purchasing a firearm- do you have to show your birth certificate for that?

Showing ID and providing a birth certificate are two different things.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

Where do you go to the movies? I've never had to show my id. Or are you really young? Does mommy know you are on the internet?

Nancy Hamilton 1 year, 1 month ago

Well bully for you that you have your birth certificate handy. When my 89 year old father lost his id, I had to a) either drive to Topeka or spend $40 to have it sent to me (yes it is 15$, but an additional fee to have it sent via mail) b) find his Medicare card/lost his original SS card years ago c) get two other pieces of id - like a bill with his address c) take time off work to drive him to the DMV-he is visually impaired and uses a walker. Glad he didn't fall walking into the DMV.

Not to belabor a point, but if he did not have a child who had the time, money, and resources to get these items together, Kobach's ridiculous laws would have disenfranchised a Veteran of both WWII and Korea so that he could prevent a non-existent horde of illegal voters from voting. Seriously people, KS has been "Red" for as long as I can remember, if illegal immigrants are voting, they are voting Republican. Oh and by the way, my Dad will probably vote for a candidate that I despise.

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