With Aug. 5 primary elections less than two months away, more than 18,000 potential voters find themselves with an incomplete registration status because their applications have not met the state’s proof of citizenship law. The issue is at the center of the race for secretary of state – the state’s top election officer. Scott Morgan, a Republican challenger, and Jean Schodorf, the Democratic candidate, both accuse incumbent Kris Kobach of disenfranchising voters. Kobach argues that the controversy has been overblown and says voters can fix their incomplete status. He also argues that the law helps prevent election fraud. The secretary of state’s office tracks the totals at the start of every month. As of June 1 there were 18,071 incomplete voter registrations, according to spokeswoman V. Kay Curtis.
“That’s actually a pretty small percentage of the people who have registered since January 1 (2013),” Kobach said in an interview earlier this month.
The total number of voters to successfully register between Jan. 1, 2013, when the new law went into effect, and May 31, 2014, is 79,387, according to Curtis. And the total number of voters across the state with a “complete” registration status was 1,728,386 as of June 1.
That means the number of registrants to be labeled incomplete since the law took effect is about 18.5 percent as of June 1 – though some may be for reasons other than proof of citizenship.