More than 19,000 of the Kansans who signed up to vote to last year saw their registrations set aside because they didn’t prove their U.S. citizenship to the state. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has a plan to make more of those voters eligible. His solution might cause even more legal problems. Kobach wants to match the list of suspended registrations with records kept at the state health department to determine who has Kansas birth certificates, one of the documents accepted for proving citizenship. The state’s vital statistics office will compare lists of would-be voters to its records. Kobach’s office would be notified when matches are confirmed. The procedure will be followed in the future as Kansans register to vote. “This, in my view, is good government,” Kobach said. But critics were quick to point out that Kobach’s idea could pose constitutional problems because it treats voters born in Kansas differently from voters born elsewhere.
It also raises questions about how women might be treated. Many change their names after getting married and might not be matched with birth records kept by the state.
“That is not actually going to work,” said Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.
Kobach said provisions will be made for women. He said the state health department tracks name changes and those records will be matched against the voting records.
Kobach, however, conceded that prospective voters born in Kansas will benefit more than voters born in another state.