Federal court ruling makes it easier to vote in Kansas

Voting booths at Hermosa Beach City Hall during California Primary

WICHITA, Kan. — More than 25,000 Kansans whose voter registration applications had been listed as incomplete for lack of proof-of-citizenship documents are being fully added to the voting rolls after a federal court decision last week finding that the requirement was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson’s ruling that the state law violated the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the National Voter Registration Act will also make it easier for new wannabe voters to register for this year’s August primary and November general election.

US President Donald Trump speaks alongside Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (L) and US Vice President Mike Pence (R) during the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House in Washington, DC, July 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The policy had been championed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has pushed such laws nationwide and led President Donald Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission.

Kobach, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, has said he plans to appeal. But courts had already previously temporarily blocked Kobach from fully enforcing the Kansas law, with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver calling it “a mass denial of a fundamental constitutional right.”

Here’s more about the impact of the ruling.

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Q: I am not registered. How do I do that?

A: Go online at ks.votes.org or visit your county election office.

You can also register by mail by calling your county election office and asking them to send you a voter registration form. Another option is downloading the National Mail Voter Registration Form and mailing it in.

If you have moved or changed your name, you need to update your registration. The deadline to register for the August primary is July 17.

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Q: I received a notice that I needed to provide proof of citizenship to complete my voter registration. Do I still need to do that?

A: No. You must be a U.S. citizen, but you do not have to provide documentary proof. The court ordered Kobach to stop enforcing that law and to make sure registrants who had received notices telling them their registrations were incomplete now receive certificates saying they are registered.

The judge ordered Kobach and the ACLU, which had sued in opposition to the law, to report back to her 30 days before the primary to verify compliance with her orders and determine whether other steps are necessary to make sure those with formerly incomplete applications get registered and know it.

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Q: How can I make sure make sure I am properly registered to vote?

A: Good question. To make sure your voter registration has been entered into the system go to ks.votes.org . Click on the “Are you registered to vote?” button and enter your name, birth date and county. If you are registered, you’ll get a page showing your registration details such as address, party, polling place and other information. You can also see a sample ballot tailored to your precinct and review your voting history.

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Q: Do I still have to show a government-issued photo ID when I vote in Kansas?

A: Yes. If you don’t a driver’s license or other accepted ID, the League of Women Voters of Kansas can help. Reach them at 785-234-5152.