Kansas Must Restore the Rights of 18,000 Purged Voters

Federal District Judge Julie Robinson blocked the Kansas Voter ID law that caused the purging of over 18,000 voters from the registered voter’s list in mid-May. This week, the Tenth Circuit refused to place a stay on the ruling, meaning Kansas must begin restoring the purged voters by Tuesday.

The law, originally designed in 2013, required that voters present a document, such as a birth certificate, at time of registration as proof of citizenship. But there’s a dilemma: the federal registration form does not have any such requirement.

Kobach’s original solution was to form two classes of voters, those who could vote in federal elections, and those who could vote in both federal and state elections. This solution was struck down in state court in January.

The next solution was to purge the 18,000 voters who had lawfully registered under federal law from the voter rolls. This action brought the current case before the courts.

The Tenth Circuit’s actions are not wholly unexpected. As Judge Robinson mentioned in her ruling, the evidence is against the state that any credible amounts of unlawful voting has taken place:

But on this record, the Court cannot find that the State’s interest in preventing noncitizens from voting in Kansas outweighs the risk of disenfranchising thousands of qualified voters. There is evidence of only three instances where noncitizens actually voted in a federal election between 1995 and 2013. And while there is evidence that about fourteen noncitizens attempted to register to vote during that time, this number pales in comparison to the number of people not registered as a result of the DPOC [documentary proof of citizenship] law. Approximately 18,000 otherwise qualified motor voter applicants have not been processed solely because they have failed to produce DPOC. — Judge Robinson 5/17/2016; Fish, et al. v. Kobach

Three instances of non-citizens voting in 18 years versus 18,000 purged voters seems like an example of executive overkill in enforcing the laws, especially when these voters had all registered legally at the DMV under the federal motor voter law.

While this case is still being appealed, this is a fairly good indication that the court will eventually rule in favor of the plaintiff.

Photo Source: Reuters