Kobach promotes Voter Registration Kit on National Voter Registration Day; doesn’t mention problem of voters in ‘suspense’
Topeka — It's National Voter Registration Day and like secretaries of state across the nation, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday encouraged people to register to vote.
But Kobach made no mention of the more than 17,000 Kansans whose voter registrations are on hold because of the proof-of-citizenship requirement that he fought to get into law. The law took effect in January.
Instead, Kobach, in a news release, promoted a 14-page Voter Registration Kit that details requirements to register to vote in Kansas.
The booklet can be downloaded at www.gotVoterID.com.
The booklet contains information about the proof of citizenship requirement for new voters, methods for delivering paper or digital copies of citizenship documents to county election officials, and contact information for those officials.
"We are pleased to offer a new portable tool to help civic organizations, parties and agencies to facilitate voter registration," Kobach said. "I encourage all United States citizens who are 18 years of age or older to register to vote if they haven’t already. And people who have moved should make sure their voter registration records are updated with their current address information," he said.
Kobach has said the proof of citizenship requirement is needed to prevent undocumented immigrants from voting. Voting rights advocates say the requirement is unnecessary because seldom does an undocumented immigrant try to vote, and it is a hardship for some people, such as the elderly, who have trouble getting their birth certificates to prove citizenship.
The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to file a lawsuit over the growing number of voter registrations in "suspense."
Topeka -- Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday didn't seem to want to get involved in the controversy over the 13,000 Kansans whose voter registrations are up in the air.
When asked about it, Brownback, a Republican, referred to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, also a Republican. "It's in the secretary of state's purview," Brownback said.
Brownback acknowledged an interest in the voting booth being "open for people." "We'll watch and review the process as it's coming forward, but there is a constitutional officer that's in charge of that." Again, that's a reference to Kobach.
Since the state proof of citizenship requirement took effect at the start of this year, more than 13,000 new Kansas voter registrants have been unable to complete the process because they didn't provide citizenship documents, such as a birth certificate or passport.
Voting rights advocates say the new law needs to be repealed and that the large number of incomplete registrations shows the state wasn't ready for such a proof of citizenship requirement.