Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s successful push to require new Kansas voters to document their U.S. citizenship has spawned three lawsuits, including one he pursued against a federal agency in trying to enforce the policy. Kansas is one of only four states that make new voters show a birth certificate, passport or other citizenship papers. The Kansas requirement took effect in 2013, and Kobach has directed county election officials to cancel more than 31,000 incomplete registrations, most from people who’ve failed to comply with the requirement. Here is a look at the proof-of-citizenship law litigation it has prompted.
Kobach persuaded the GOP-dominated Legislature to enact the proof-of-citizenship requirements as a way to combat election fraud. Arizona, Alabama and Georgia also have such laws, though they’ve not been fully enforced.
After the citizenship requirement took effect in Kansas, the number of residents with incomplete voter registrations multiplied, reaching nearly 37,700 last week. As of Friday, when Kobach’s cancellation directive took effect, nearly 83 percent had been incomplete for more 90 days.
“It’s a law that has blocked a lot of people from participating,” said Jonathan Brater, an attorney for the voting rights project at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school. But Kobach said anyone whose registration is canceled can submit a new registration form. “The idea that anyone is being denied the right to vote is patently false,” he said.