Kansas election officials threw out thousands of uncounted provisional ballots cast in November, mostly because the state had no record that those residents were registered voters. Some local election officials are now voicing concerns about instances of lost registrations from people who filled out applications on Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s online site and at motor vehicle offices, but whose names never showed up on poll books, voter rolls or even a list of people whose applications weren’t complete. Some voters had date-stamped, computer screenshots showing they successfully completed their voter registration. Kobach’s office said in an emailed statement there was a technical problem with the computer system that handles voter registrations for the motor vehicle department, and that it is the office’s understanding that the problem was corrected within a few days of its discovery in October. Kobach’s office then instructed county election officers to accept any paper printout of an applicant’s computer screen as proof that the person timely completed the registration form.
What troubles local election officials is an increasing number of people in the last two election cycles who say their voter registration applications were completed online or at driver’s license offices, but whose names never made it to county election offices to be added to local voter rolls. The extent of that problem is unknown. Douglas County was the only county AP found that specifically tracked provisional ballots cast by people in November who claimed their registrations were lost.
Kobach’s office has not yet compiled a statewide count of how many provisional ballots were discarded. Numbers that The Associated Press obtained from county election offices and the League of Women Voters for the state’s 11 largest counties show that 8,864 ballots cast were not counted, slightly more than 1 percent of votes cast in those counties. The reasons include lack of proper identification at polls, not providing proof of citizenship at registration, and not signing or filling out the advance ballot envelope correctly. More than half of ballots were tossed out because there was no record the person was a registered voter.