Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach asked for a bill to be introduced Tuesday that would give him authority to hold “bifurcated” elections so that potentially tens of thousands of registered voters could not vote in state or local elections. It would apply to people who register to vote using a federal process that does not require people to show proof of citizenship, ensuring that they could only vote in federal elections, not state or local elections. “It’s sort of an interim bill during litigation to keep the integrity of the (proof of citizenship) law while it’s being litigated,” Kobach told the Senate Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government. The bill comes in response to a string of state and federal court rulings leading up to the 2016 elections that all but nullified the proof of citizenship law that he championed in 2011.
… Also Tuesday, Kobach downplayed the significance of news reports over the weekend that “thousands” of ballots were thrown out during the 2016 elections, including many from people who said they had successfully registered using the state’s online registration system.
That story was first reported by The Associated Press and was carried in several Kansas news outlets, including the Lawrence Journal-World. It noted that a potentially large number of people registered using the state’s online system and received confirmation that their registrations were successful, only to find out at the polls that the registrations had not gone through. The problem was attributed to a “glitch” in a web-based system that communicates between the secretary of state’s office and the Division of Vehicles in the Department of Revenue.