Kansas asks court to deny voting rights to thousands who haven’t provided proof of citizenship

DENVER -- Kansas is asking the federal appeals court in Denver to keep thousands of people who haven't yet provided documents showing they are U.S. citizens from voting in November.

Judges are set to hear arguments Tuesday over how the state enforces proof-of-citizenship requirements for voters who register at motor vehicle offices.

A federal judge in May temporarily blocked Kansas from disenfranchising about 18,000 people who registered at motor vehicle offices without paperwork such as birth certificates or naturalization papers. The state wants the court to overturn that order, which it says could affect as many as 50,000 potential voters by this fall.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says it doesn't make sense to hold people registering at motor vehicle offices to a different standard than those registering elsewhere.

In July, prior to the August primary, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, Micah Kubic, says Kobach is "deliberately creating chaos" for voters and "acting out of petulance."

At that time, civil rights groups demanded in an open letter that Kobach rescind his instructions to local election officials to throw out votes cast in upcoming local and state races by people who registered at motor vehicle offices without providing proof of U.S. citizenship.

A federal court order required Kansas to allow voters to cast provisional ballots in the federal race.  Kobach wanted to allow election officials to throw out any provisional ballots in which votes were cast in state and local races and count only votes cast for president and U.S. Senate and House races.



Kobach's election instructions are estimated to affect as many as 50,000 people in the November election, who registered to vote when they got their driver's licenses without providing the citizenship documentation.

Kobach has championed the documentation requirement as a way to prevent non-citizens from voting, particularly immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.