Some Kansas counties expect to take at least several weeks to cancel incomplete voter registrations from residents who haven’t documented their U.S. citizenship, local election officials said Monday. Local officials also said even when they’re done culling the more than 31,000 records as required under a new rule from Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the canceled registrations still will be accessible in their voter registration databases. Kobach has directed counties to cancel incomplete registrations older than 90 days, with most from prospective voters who haven’t met the proof-of-citizenship requirement. A 2013 state law requires new voters to produce a birth certificate, passport or other citizenship papers when registering. Kansas is only one of four states with such a law, and its incomplete registrations ballooned to nearly 37,700 last week.
In Sedgwick County, Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman said her staff is first reviewing the records of 1,700 people who appear to have Kansas birth certificates on file with the state health department. The possible matches came from Kobach’s office, which checks incomplete registrations against birth records monthly.
Lehman said the checking should take a week before her staff begins reviewing other incomplete registrations to see how many should be canceled. Sedgwick County had 8,400 incomplete registrations — the most of any county — and about 7,000 older than 90 days.
“This is not something that is going to quickly get done,” she said.
Kobach faces a federal lawsuit challenging both the proof-of-citizenship law and his directive to counties to cull registration records.