To get out of voter registration “purgatory” in Kansas, it helps to sue. That’s what two young men and their attorneys found when they took Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) to court over a state law that requires residents to present proof of citizenship documents in order to vote in state and federal elections. If a Kansan registers to vote but does not provide one of 13 valid proof-of-citizenship documents, such as a birth certificate or passport, he or she is placed on a so-called “suspense” list. Just three other states in the country have such a requirement on the books, and Kansas and Arizona are the only states enforcing it. About 36,000 Kansans were in this state of “voter purgatory” as of early October. For comparison, the state has 1.7 million registered voters.
Under a new rule that Kobach proposed in June, people who haven’t presented proof of citizenship will be removed from the suspense list after 90 days, and will then be required to start from the beginning of the registration process. (Before the 90-day rule was implemented, prospective voters had until Election Day to provide the documents.)
In September, Cody Keener, 22, and Alder Cromwell, 18, filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block the 90-day rule as well as the original proof of citizenship law. But something surprising happened: Kobach told the plaintiffs they were already registered and therefore had no standing to sue. Between the filing of the lawsuit and Kobach’s response, state agencies had quietly verified the plaintiffs’ documents and completed the registration for them. Kobach noted that the secretary of state’s office was legally permitted to liaise with the Department of Vital Statistics to determine whether the plaintiffs were born in the state and had a birth certificate on file.
Attorneys Paul Davis and Will Lawrence, who are representing Keener and Cromwell, said Kobach had given their clients no notice that their registration status had changed before he filed his response to their lawsuit.
Full Article: Want To Get Out Of ‘Voter Purgatory’ In Kansas? Try Suing..