Judge Rules Secretary of State Kris Kobach ‘Lacks the Authority to Create a Two-Tiered System of Voter Registration’

November 4, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. — A state court has ordered a permanent halt to Kansas’ dual voter registration system, meaning thousands of Kansans will have their votes counted for federal, state, and local elections in next week’s election and beyond.

The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the dual system, which had allowed some Kansans to vote for federal offices but not state and local offices, due solely to their method of registration. Secretary of State Kris Kobach attempted to formalize the system via an administrative rule, and the ACLU asked the court to permanently block it. Judge Larry Hendricks today agreed, ruling that Kobach “simply lacks the authority to create a two-tiered system of voter registration.”

Sophia Lakin, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, responded:

“This ruling is a victory for Kansas voters and a stinging rebuke of Secretary Kobach’s repeated efforts to improperly use his authority to obstruct their access to the ballot. This decision recognizes that Kansans' right to vote in state and local elections should be honored, no matter what registration form they used.”

At least 19,000 Kansans who registered to vote through the Division of Vehicles or by using the federal national mail registration form are affected by the ruling. 

The ruling is at: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/brown-v-kobach-memorandum-decision-and-order

More information is at: https://www.aclu.org/cases/brown-v-kobach

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