Kansas Secretary Of State Criticized For Voter Registration Laws

| by Robert Fowler
Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. KobachKansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach

Kansas’ Republican Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach is being accused by the state’s Democrats and voting rights activists of suppressing voter turnout.

Kansas adopted a law requiring voters to prove their citizenship in 2013, the Salina Post reports.

In June, Kobach became the first state secretary to gain the power to prosecute those he suspects of voter fraud, The Wichita Eagle reports. He has since charged three Kansas voters for suspected fraud.

“We now live in a society where there is a record number of noncitizens who live with us,” Kobach told The New York Times. “This is a common sense way of ensuring that only U.S. citizens are able to vote.”

Critics of the new voting registration law argue that it unfairly targets minorities, low-income citizens and people under the age of 35, The New York Times reports. They accuse Kansas Republicans of trying to suppress voter turnout among those who are more likely to vote Democratic.

Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, is skeptical of Kobach’s voter fraud cases.

“[Kobach is] particularly zealous about trying to find something to justify this new law that he got passed, so I’d be really concerned about the merits of the individual cases,” Kubic told The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas is among the four U.S. states that require proof of citizenship to complete voter registration, The New York Times reports. The only other states that require proof of citizenship are Alabama, Arizona and Georgia. However, only Kansas and Arizona aggressively enforce the requirement.

The 2013 measure has resulted in a list of 36,000 incomplete voter registrations.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson will hold a hearing on Dec. 4 to decide whether to block the compiling of Kansas voter registration records, the Salina Post reports.

Sources: The New York Times, Salina Post, The Wichita Eagle / Photo Credit: The Wichita Eagle