The right to vote is turning into a tooth-and-claw saga in Kansas, thanks to right-wing ideologues’ determination to force new voters to produce a passport, a birth certificate or naturalization papers as proof of citizenship. This is unheard-of in most of the nation, where aspiring voters are required only to swear to being citizens under penalty of prosecution for fraud. But in Kansas, the requirement that citizenship be documented has become a grave electoral impediment that is being challenged on two legal fronts. In the first, a federal district judge in May ordered the state to register thousands of people who had been denied federal voting privileges because they did not produce proof of citizenship when they tried to register at motor vehicle offices. Judge Julie Robinson ruled that the requirement violated the National Voter Registration Act provision that “only the minimum amount of information” is needed to certify a voter. The state is appealing her ruling.
Judge Robinson found that 18,372 qualified voters had been unfairly barred from federal elections — about 8 percent of new applicants. She also found that between 1995 and 2013, there were only three instances in Kansas when noncitizens had voted. This was a humiliating setback for Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has been a major proponent of the Republican fantasy that voter fraud is rampant.
A separate lawsuit, also in Kansas and brought by voting rights groups, is focused on a brazen attempt to force prospective voters to provide proof of citizenship in state elections as an addendum to the federal government’s voter registration form.
Full Article: The Struggle to Vote in Kansas – The New York Times.