A statewide list of 36,674 suspended voters – those who tried to register to vote but did not meet all the requirements – will start to disappear this week. A new rule proposed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach will remove people who have been on the list for more than 90 days if they haven’t shown proof of citizenship. Before, they would have stayed on the list until they resolved their registration problem. The majority of those people? Young, unaffiliated voters. An Eagle analysis shows that more than 40 percent of people on the state’s suspended voter list are under 30. More than half are unaffiliated with a party, while 18 percent are listed as Democrats and 22 percent are listed as Republicans. Since a proof of citizenship law championed by Kobach went into effect in 2013, more than 16 percent of people who have tried to register to vote have been placed on the suspended voter list. The list had grown to 36,674 people by this month – up from 27,131 in October last year.
The vast majority of people on the list in Sedgwick County – 92 percent – are there because they have not provided proof of citizenship documents, said Tabitha Lehman, Sedgwick County elections commissioner.
Kobach does not call people on the list suspended voters. Rather, he said, their registration status is incomplete.
“‘Suspended’ implies that they were once voters,” Kobach said. “‘Your driving rights have been suspended’ implies that you once had them. … It’s an uncompleted registration record that a person has started, but no one’s voting rights have ever been suspended because of the proof of citizenship law.”