Opponents of a Kansas law requiring proof of citizenship before residents can register to vote asked a federal judge Friday to void the requirement. During oral arguments in Kansas City, Kan., attorneys representing voters denied registration asked for summary judgment in their companion cases, rather than going to trial. They argued that evidence already on the record proves that elements of the law were unconstitutional. The law is flawed, the lawyers said, because it doesn’t treat all eligible voters equally. It applies only to new voters, exempting all who registered before Jan. 1, 2013, from having to show proof of citizenship.
It also affects certain groups of voters unequally, the challengers said. Tens of thousands of prospective voters were denied registration when they failed to provide a birth certificate, passport or other document to prove they were citizens. More than 40 percent of them, the plaintiffs claim, were ages 18 to 29.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach countered that the law is valid. Kobach, who both proposed the law and enforces it as the state’s top election official, also argued in court that his office has been trying to help qualify people who don’t or are unable to show citizenship documents at registration.