Kansas election officials are expected to begin removing the names of more than 31,000 prospective voters from their registration records Friday in line with the state’s tough voter identification law, which requires applicants to prove their citizenship before casting a ballot. Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a leading advocate for rigorous voter identification requirements, directed county election officials to begin canceling the applications of prospective voters who after 90 days had not provided all required information and documents. Since 2013, Kansas has required new voters to provide a birth certificate, passport or other papers documenting their U.S. citizenship. The latest action would be the first purge of incomplete applications. Kobach described the culling of pending applications as just “common sense” to maintain accurate records of who is legally allowed to vote.
About 10 states require voters to provide a photo ID at the polls, but Kansas is one of only four that also requires proof of citizenship. Kobach has argued that the requirement prevents election fraud by unqualified voters, but Democrats have accused him of attempting to discourage voting by minorities, the poor and others who don’t have passports or easy access to documents.
“This is something that makes Kansas and Secretary Kobach exceptional — and I don’t mean that in a good way,” said Dale Ho, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project.
Democratic attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of two young prospective voters, claiming the proof-of-citizenship rule and canceling incomplete registrations violates their constitutional rights. Kobach said Thursday evening that U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia rejected a request for an order temporarily blocking the culling of records.