The American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters are among the groups expected to turn out Wednesday to speak against proposed new voting regulations that would allow the Kansas Secretary of State to purge voter registration applications for more than 30,000 people who have failed to show proof of citizenship. Secretary of State Kris Kobach is proposing that new rule. A public hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of Memorial Hall, 120 SW 10th Ave., in Topeka. “Rather than strengthening democracy by making voter registration easier, the secretary of state continues to try to create new barriers to registration by eligible Kansans,” said ACLU of Kansas Executive Director Micah Kubic. Also expected to testify is Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, according to information from Kobach’s office.
Since January 2013, people registering for the first time in their county have been required to show proof of U.S. citizenship. Those who fail to do so, or who fail to provide any other required information, have their applications placed “in suspense” until they provide the necessary documents. Since then, according to Kobach’s office, more than 30,000 registrations have been placed in suspense, the vast majority of them for lack of citizenship documentation.
Under the proposed rule, incomplete registrations would be canceled after 90 days if voters fail to provide all the required information.
Bryan Caskey, who heads the elections division in the secretary of state’s office, told a legislative panel in August that county election officers need to be able to clean up their voting rolls. He said some of the would-be voters have been on the list since 2013 and have not responded to numerous phone calls and mail notices asking them to complete their registrations. He speculated that many of them have since moved to another address, but there is nothing in current law that allows counties to purge those applications from the rolls.