A Kansas law that blocked tens of thousands of voter registrations goes on trial this week in federal court — testing whether fraud is common enough to warrant tougher registration rules. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants to prove his oft-made and much-challenged assertions that voter fraud isn’t just a risk, but a real and widespread problem. If he fails in court, the state will no longer be able to block voter registrations at driver’s license offices for failing to show such things as birth certificates or passports to prove citizenship.
Editorials: Kansans’ voting rights at risk as Kris Kobach gets his day in court | The Kansas City Star
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s relentless campaign to make it harder to register to vote goes on trial Tuesday in federal court. The nation will be watching the case play out in Kansas City, Kan. If Kobach prevails, many states across the country are likely to erect new barriers to registration, making it harder for the voters’ will to be known in races from the city council to the White House. If Kobach loses — which seems more likely than not — the right to register and vote without major obstruction will have at least some protection, as it should have. At issue is a state law requiring Kansans to provide “documentary proof of citizenship,” such as a birth certificate or adoption decree, when registering to vote at the driver’s license office. Kobach and other allies said producing birth certificates and passports for registration would be easy for eligible citizens but would be hard for non-citizens, keeping them from the ballot box.