Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s proposal to move up the date when Kansans must show proof of citizenship to register to vote is not getting good reviews from the people who run elections.
“If you rush implementation of a policy, you have a stronger chance of mistakes,” said Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew. He said voting is a constitutional right, “so you don’t want to make a decision on the fly about who gets to participate and who doesn’t get to participate.”
Here’s the issue: The Kansas Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback during the 2011 legislative session approved two major changes in state election law:
• One change requires voters to show photo ID to vote in 2012.
• The other requires people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to show proof of U.S. citizenship. But that provision doesn’t take effect until January 2013.
Kobach wants to move that up to March 2012.
“That way, the bulk of the registrations in the 2012 cycle will be properly analyzed for citizenship,” he said.
He said that will prevent noncitizens from voting. He said he will push for this change in the 2012 legislative session, which starts in January. Critics have argued there is no evidence of any problem with people who are not citizens trying to vote in Kansas.