After two days of confusion — with some but not all county election officials enforcing a Kansas voting restriction struck down by a federal judge Monday — the Kansas Secretary of State’s office instructed local officials Wednesday that proof-of-citizenship was not required to register to vote. The instructions marked the end — or at least a pause — in a years-long saga of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach fighting tooth and nail to keep his signature voter restriction alive, despite multiple court rulings against it. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson issued her order Monday, after a seven-day trial in March, declaring the proof-of-citizenship requirement a violation of both the National Voter Registration Act as well as the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
However, in the meantime, there was confusion among election officials — reported on by at least one local outlet and noted by one of the country’s top election law experts— over whether the proof-of-citizenship law was still at least partially in effect after Monday’s decision.
On Tuesday morning, Kobach’s office held a 11 a.m. CST conference phone call, led by Kansas Director of Elections Brian Caskey, instructing county officials to continue their current policies — which included requiring proof of citizenship when someone used the state voter registration form — while Kobach’s office reviewed the court order. Caskey said more guidance, including written instructions, outlining compliance with the order would be coming later, county officials told TPM.