Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Thursday that he’s not giving up on having a proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters in place ahead of next year’s elections, despite the state Senate’s rejection of the idea.
State law already says that people who are registering to vote for the first time in Kansas will have to provide a birth certificate, passport, or other proof of U.S. citizenship to election officials. The rule was enacted this year at Kobach’s urging but doesn’t take effect until January 2013, a year later than he wanted.
The same law also will require voters to show photo identification at the polls, starting next year. Kobach wanted the proof-of-citizenship requirement to take effect at the same time and authority for his office to file and prosecute election fraud cases in state courts. But senators had insisted on the later start date for the proof-of-citizenship requirement and had removed the new prosecutorial power for Kobach’s office before the legislation passed.
The Republican secretary of state praised the compromise version of the new law as a historic step toward combatting election fraud and as a model for other states. But he also didn’t stop pushing for the stronger version, and on Wednesday, the Senate rejected a tougher bill on a 23-15 vote.