Kansas officials plan to take up on Tuesday a proposed temporary rule that will allow election officials to throw out votes in local and state races cast by tens of thousands of people who register at motor vehicle offices without proving U.S. citizenship. The State Rules and Regulations Board gave the public just a day’s notice that it will consider the temporary rule sought by Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Those voters affected by the rule — which the state has estimated could number about 50,000 — would be given a provisional ballot. “It just stinks. This is not how democracy works, and something as important as voting should not be taken care of in this backroom manner,” said state Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat.
Ward noted that the special committee of five hearing Kobach’s proposed rule is comprised of five Republicans, including Kobach. In Kansas, temporary rules can be adopted without public comment for 120 days of implementation with another 120-day renewal option. That means this committee will decide the rules for the upcoming Aug. 2 primary and the November general election.
The move comes after a federal appeals court upheld U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson’s preliminary injunction ordering Kansas to allow qualified voters who register while getting their driver’s licenses to be allowed to vote in the upcoming races for president, U.S. Senate and House. That lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union under the National Voter Registration Act.