On August 13, 2015, ACLU national and the ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri sent a letter to Secretary of State Kris Kobach saying the state’s failure to adhere to the National Voter Registration Act has prevented thousands of Kansans from registering to vote. More than one-third of voter registration applications submitted in Kansas this year – approximately 14,000 – are being held in “suspense,” essentially in limbo, by the state.
Kansas has a documentary proof-of-citizenship law essentially identical to an Arizona law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. That Arizona measure required those registering to vote to show documentary proof of citizenship beyond what is required by federal voter registration forms. In Kansas, however, many of those who are seeking to register have complied with the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirement, but have still ended up in suspense.
Among the violations cited by the ACLU:
- Kansas has failed to register to vote thousands of applicants for driver’s licenses due to a faulty computer system. These are people who have fully complied with all legal requirements for both driver’s licenses and voter registration.
- Kansas has also defied the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Arizona case by continuing to demand documentary proof of citizenship from individuals applying to register to vote with the federal voter registration form. These unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles have deprived thousands of Kansans of their right to register to vote.
The state has 90 days to comply with federal law before facing legal action.
The letter was sent by the ACLU on behalf of several individuals and the NAACP Kansas State Conference, the Lawrence and Douglas County League of Women Voters, and Equality Kansas, Inc.
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