Lawyers for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office and the American Civil Liberties Union continue to battle over a lawsuit that threatens to unravel a state law requiring voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. The latest action in the case came late Friday when the ACLU filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking to declare the so-called “dual registration” system illegal. Under that system, people who register using a federal form, which does not require proof of citizenship, may only vote in federal races. Voters may only cast ballots in state and local races if they register using the state form, which requires documentary proof of citizenship.
In August, Shawnee County District Judge Frank Theis ruled that the case could go forward, despite Kobach’s argument that none of the plaintiffs in the case had standing to sue. And he strongly suggested that Kobach had no legal authority to implement what he called an “ad hoc” dual registration system.
Doug Bonney, legal director for the ACLU of Kansas, said a favorable ruling for his clients could render the entire proof-of-citizenship law meaningless because people who don’t have such documents, or who don’t want to produce them, can merely register to vote using the federal form, which only requires voters to attest under penalty of perjury that they are U.S. citizens.
“I think that’s the meaning of Judge Theis’ previous order on the scheme that Secretary Kobach has created,” Bonney said.