More than 30,000 incomplete voter registrations have piled up in Kansas — most waiting for applicants to submit the now-required “proof of citizenship” documents. Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he knows how to fix the problem. He wants a new rule that allows election officials to toss out uncompleted applications after 90 days. The proposal will be the topic of a hearing this week. Simple housekeeping, he says. The wholesale dumping of potential voters, critics say, and for no good reason. Even Hillary Clinton weighed in last week. A tweet from her presidential campaign account called Kobach’s proposal a “purging” and a “targeted attack on voting rights.” Kansas’ rules on voter ID and proof of citizenship championed by the Republican secretary of state have stirred up controversy nationally and close to home. Voting rights groups say the regulations muck up a system that wasn’t broken and, in the process, reduce voter participation.
Kobach, who considers himself a crusader for election integrity, says he’s battling voter fraud and ensuring that only U.S. citizens cast ballots in Kansas. Critics are blowing issues way out of proportion, he says. In an interview with The Star, Kobach discussed the 90-day idea and other upcoming voting issues causing distress statewide.
… But the League of Women Voters of Kansas has objections, to put it mildly. “From the league’s perspective,” said Marge Ahrens, co-president of the Kansas league, “we don’t just throw away people who say they want to vote.”
These are citizens who are trying to register, Ahrens said, but they’ve run up against the complexity of the law, which requires documentation such as a birth certificate or passport. The fact that more than 30,000 such applications are pending, with 1,100 added each month, she said, shows that the law is cumbersome.