Legislators and the governor should stop taking legal advice from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and start taking some responsibility for the chaos created by the law requiring people prove U.S. citizenship to register to vote. As it is, the burden of guaranteeing at least partial voting rights in Kansas is falling on judges – most recently the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ refusal last week to temporarily block a May order by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson. In response, Kobach’s office told county election officials late Tuesday to start registering affected Kansans. They had tried to register to vote when they applied for or renewed a driver’s license, as intended by the federal 1993 “motor-voter law,” but had their applications put on hold or thrown out for lack of citizenship proof. Counting past and future motor-voter applicants, the state thinks as many as 50,000 voter registrations could be involved.
Even now, Kobach plans to allow these Kansans to vote only for the federal races for Congress and the presidency. That strategy is in line with the two-tiered voting scheme he also uses when Kansans register with a federal voter registration form. That absurdity is being challenged in a lawsuit in state court.
Before state legislators passed the Secure and Fair Elections Act, they were assured by Kobach that the document sharing between the driver’s license and election offices would be seamless. Instead, as described in Robinson’s order, the citizenship mandate has been “burdensome, confusing and inconsistently enforced” for motor-voter registrants.
Full Article: Kansas election law created chaos | The Wichita Eagle.