A state board on Tuesday approved a temporary regulation that will limit the voting rights of an estimated 17,000 Kansans, saying they can cast ballots only in federal races, not in state or local elections. The action by the Kansas Rules and Regulations Board — which one opponent called “appalling” — affects people who attempted to register at a local motor vehicle office but did not provide proof of U.S. citizenship. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach requested the temporary rule in response to a temporary injunction issued in May by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson, who said the state cannot enforce its proof of citizenship law on people who registered under provisions of the National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as the “motor voter” law. The temporary rule means that voters who fall into that category will be given a full ballot, but their ballots will be set aside as “provisional” ballots and will be counted after Election Day when their county Board of Canvassers meets, and that board will count only votes cast in federal races.
… State Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, called the process “appalling” and said, “I cannot believe the secretary of state would pull this kind of chicanery, It is not a coincidence that the 120th day will be the general elections,” Ward said. “So this temporary rule will control not only the primaries, where there are at least a dozen races in highly competitive districts, where a handful of votes will determine the future of this state, being controlled by a regulation that’s in direct violation to court orders.”
Also speaking against the rule was Marge Ahrens, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas, who said her organization has no way of knowing which voters are on the list so the group can contact them and let them know how they will be affected. “We are concerned that every eligible citizen in Kansas have easy access to the vote,” she said. “And we do not know how the individuals will be reached beyond our Facebook and website where we list those in suspense. We do not even know the names of the persons from the DMV list who will only be allowed to vote in federal elections.”