De Anna Allen has served on a jury. She has served her country. So she was surprised when she couldn’t vote. Allen went to cast a ballot in the primary election in August and poll workers couldn’t find her name among the list of registered voters. She did cast a ballot, but it was provisional and did not count. Allen was among 27,131 people statewide who had signed up to vote but whose registrations were considered in suspense, or limbo, as of Oct. 14, the last day to register before the midterm election. Most of them – 23,026, including Allen – had not yet provided proof of citizenship. By Friday, the state had whittled that number to 21,473. The numbers of Kansans with incomplete registration because of citizenship are highest among the young and unaffiliated, an Eagle analysis found. Statewide, 12,327 people who identified as unaffiliated had their registrations suspended because of lack of proof of citizenship, compared with 4,787 who identified as Republicans, 3,948 who identified as Democrats and 361 who identified as Libertarians. Not all who applied identified a party, records requested by The Wichita Eagle from the state show. The number of men and women with suspended registrations was split pretty evenly. “It just caught me off guard that I was not registered,” Allen said. “I served for a week on a jury trial, which basically told me I was a registered voter. I’m a disabled veteran, so it’s particularly frustrating. Why should I have to prove my citizenship when I served in the military?”
Because of a move, apparently, Allen was affected by a law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2013, that requires people registering to vote for the first time to provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport.
She left Kansas in 2004 and came back in January 2013. She registered to vote when she went to get her driver’s license. After she attempted to vote in the primary, “I got a letter saying I needed to give them my birth certificate.”
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman could not speak to Allen specifically but said a provisional ballot cast by anyone who had not provided proof of citizenship by the day before the primary election would not have counted.
Allen, who served in the Air Force, found the documents she needed and went to the Sedgwick County election office last week to provide proof of citizenship. She took her birth certificate, marriage license, military discharge papers and a certificate showing she had served on a jury.