Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the ACLU fought at a trial Tuesday over a law that could affect whether thousands of Kansans will be able to vote this fall. The outcome will affect people like Charles Stricker, a manager at the Ambassador Hotel in Wichita who was the first witness. Stricker thought he had registered to vote in 2014 when he signed up at a DMV, but it turns out he wasn’t. He hadn’t provided proof of citizenship as required by a 2013 Kansas law. The ACLU has sued in federal court to permanently block the law, saying it is unconstitutional and has denied thousands of Kansans the ability to vote.
Kobach, the law’s foremost champion, said some estimates show thousands of non-citizens are on the state’s voter rolls. And he says the law has cut down on non-citizen registrations.
Stricker testified that he found out that he wasn’t registered when he showed up at a polling station to vote. The episode left him frustrated and confused.
“For me, it’s really about the principle of the matter. I don’t think the average Kansas citizen should have to sue the secretary of state to get registered to vote. It’s a very convoluted, confusing process,” Stricker said. “I want to make it easier for people to vote and I think that’s what we should be doing.”