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Lost Votes

KSAL Staff - August 20, 2013 10:22 am

The Garden City Telegram:

An assault on voter rights has no place in democracy.

A lawsuit targeting Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirement was to be expected.

The American Civil Liberties Union recently notified Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach that it would file a federal lawsuit unless the state stops enforcing a requirement for new voters to provide proof of U.S. citizenship.

The ACLU claims the new Kansas requirement doesn’t comply with federal election laws. A U.S. Supreme Court decision recently overturned key parts of Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship law, which suggests Kansas’ law also is on shaky ground.

The policy coveted by Kobach and fellow GOP ultraconservatives went into effect on Jan. 1. Now, new voters aren’t legally registered until they’ve presented a birth certificate, passport or other document demonstrating citizenship.

But thanks to the proof-of-citizenship law, voter registration was left in “suspense” for nearly 15,000 Kansans. The mess has the state claiming prospective voters didn’t provide a document necessary to satisfy the requirement, while evidence shows some did indeed show proof of citizenship at a driver’s license office or had voted in the past.

Kobach – a key player in a national anti-immigrant movement who pursues policies that disproportionately disenfranchise minorities – says such requirements are needed because we’ve fallen prey to widespread voter fraud. But in a state with about 1.7 million registered voters, only a handful of cases related to reports of non-citizens voting or attempting to vote have materialized in the past decade, with even fewer convictions.

The proof-of-citizenship requirement in Kansas followed a law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, another ultraconservative strategy to discourage voting by sidelining those who may not have appropriate photo ID – the poor, elderly and students, for example – and who tend to favor Democrats on the ballot.

As if making it more difficult to vote isn’t troubling enough, the thousands of prospective voters on the new “suspense” list easily could be the difference in tight statewide races – sad proof that the strategy to suppress future votes is gaining momentum in Kansas.

And now, we’re left to hope the threat of litigation somehow slows the deliberate, relentless assault on the democratic process.

Iggy p Daily

August 21, 2013 at 12:11 am

Look where this story is coming from. The capital of illegals in Kansas

Anita Mann

August 21, 2013 at 8:30 am

How about grown ups accepting responsibility for not having an id? I have to show one to cash a check, but alcohol and many other things. Stop whining about proving your eligible to vote and just get an id. And how is it difficult to vote as stated in the article? There are voting sites placed in central locations and there are many organizations that offer shuttle services. Stop playing the victim and act like adults. The only votes being suppressed are the ones that aren’t eligible to vote anyway.

Bob Bowser

August 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm

The REAL “assault on voter rights” happens when MY LEGAL vote is cancelled by an ILLEGAL vote.
obama got 104% of the vote in several precincts in Indiana… and there “is no voter fraud”???

Fredd Fredrickson

August 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

“Anti-immigrant” or “Anti-illegal-immigrants voting” movement? By the way, the Supreme Court decision only effects federal elections. The AG can continue with state an local proof-of-citizenship.

wallace white

August 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Kobach isnt anti-immigrant, HE IS anti-ILLEGAL alien… KSAL, why do you post such slanderous drivel.??

If stopped by police, you are supposed to show ID. SO just use that same ID at a polling station.

The only assault on the democratic process is from those seeking to undermine the legitimacy of elections, commit election fraud and to ensure elections have NO integrity.

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