The League of Women Voters of Kansas has requested from the state an updated list of incomplete voter applications and intends to revisit the matter quarterly. Co-president Carole Neal said her group expects to complete a fresh analysis of pending applications next month. In 2013, Kansas began requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. This October, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach called for applications to be canceled if kept on file for 90 days or longer without the applicant meeting paperwork requirements. There were more than 30,000 names on the list at the time. When the nonpartisan League of Women Voters analyzed the list and found a third of the names were people under the age of 30 — a fact that surprised them — they increased outreach efforts that target college students and high-schoolers. This includes collaborating with faculty at Washburn University, Wichita State, Emporia State and Fort Hays State universities to incorporate curriculum related to voter registration into political science classes. It also includes visiting high schools to discuss registration and the right to vote.
“We don’t like the law, but somehow we’ve got to work within the law,” Neal said of the proof of citizenship requirement. “So let’s make sure the students know what they’re supposed to be doing.”
Critics of the requirement argue it disenfranchises minorities and low-income voters because they are less likely to have the necessary papers. Proponents argue it helps protect against voter fraud.
Neal said monitoring the incomplete registration list four times a year while increasing efforts to educate young adults will help the group check whether there is a drop in the number of such voters who submit only partial applications.
“That is our hope,” Neal said.