Since 2013, Kansas has required proof of citizenship to vote in elections. But there’s a small problem with that. While the Kansas voter registration form requires proof of citizenship, the federal voter registration form (available at eac.gov) does not.
Kansas has requested that the Election Assistance Commission amend the state-specific instruction to the federal forms to include proof of citizenship, but the Commission has not acted on this request.
To combat this, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) instituted a dual voting list, claiming that only those registering with proof of citizenship could vote in state and local elections, while those using the federal form could still vote in federal elections.
Last week, a Kansas judge ruled against both his scheme and his attempt to get the case thrown out of court.
To attempt to derail the case, brought forward by the ACLU on behalf of two Kansas residents federally registered, Kobach simply made the two plaintiffs eligible for all elections in Kansas, claiming that they no longer had a case of merit against the state.
Instead, the judge summarily ruled that Kobach didn’t have the right to implement the dual registration scheme without legislative authority.
The judge also noted that the scheme violated the sanctity of the secret ballot, especially in smaller districts, where it would be apparent how individuals on the federal registration ballots voted.
Kobach has stated he has no plans to ask for legislative authority, but will most likely appeal the ruling.
The bigger legal issue, one most likely to be resolved in federal courts, is the authority of the National Voter Registration Act and the power of the EAC to determine changes to the state-specific procedures for the federal registration form.
Kobach has been politically active nationwide when it comes to proof of citizenship in voting and was the architect of the controversial Arizona voting laws.