On February 18, 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the League of Women Voters, and individual Kansans. The lawsuit, Fish v. Kobach, was filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City. It seeks an order requiring Kansas to immediately register thousands of Kansans who sought to register to vote at a DMV office, but who were denied due to their supposed failure to comply with the state’s citizenship documentation requirements. The case was brought by the ACLU, the ACLU of Kansas, and Dechert LLP.

Kansans trying to register to vote at their state Department of Motor Vehicles offices are illegally being forced to provide additional documentation of citizenship–a requirement that violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), a federal law designed to make it easier for Americans to register to vote and maintain their registrations.

To comply with the NRVA, states have to provide people with an opportunity to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver's licenses at the DMV. Instead, Kansans are being told they must present additional citizenship paperwork in order to become registered — or they're not being informed at all, only to find out later that they've been suspended from voting. As a result, more than 30,000 potential voters have been blocked from voting.

The ACLU is representing the League of Women Voters of Kansas, whose voter registration activities have been severely hampered by the documentary proof-of-citizenship law, and individual plaintiffs.

UPDATED AUGUST 2016: A federal appeals court will hear arguments on August 23. The ACLU asked the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm a federal district court ruling that blocked the law for the November election to ensure that thousands of affected Kansans can vote in the presidential election. Listen to the arguments here: https://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/clerk/16-3147_1.mp3

 

 

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