Kansas Moves Ahead With Two-Tiered Voting System, Some Voters Allowed To Cast Ballots Only In Federal Elections

We reported last year on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s plan to create a two-tiered voting system in his state, in which voters who registered with a federal voter registration form but did not meet the state’s strict new citizenship documentation requirement would be allowed to cast ballots in federal elections but would be barred from participating state elections.

Kobach claimed at the time that the two-tiered system was “merely a contingency plan” in the event that he lost a lawsuit seeking to require the federal form used in Kansas to include the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirement. Kobach won that suit, but the decision has been stayed pending appeal, meaning that Kansas will go ahead with Kobach’s two-tiered system in this summer's primaries, reports the Associated Press. Arizona, which joined Kansas on the lawsuit, is implementing a similar system.

The good news is that, according to Kobach, fewer than 100 Kansans who registered with the federal form but didn’t provide the correct citizenship documentation will be the inaugural members of the new federal-elections-only voting tier. Those voters, according to the AP, "will be given full provisional ballots during the Aug. 5 primary elections — but only the votes they cast in federal races will actually be counted."

The bad news is that 18,000 Kansans who registered with the state form but couldn’t provide the correct documentation still can’t vote in either type of election.

Kobach, of course, continues to claim that “no one is disenfranchised” by his policies.

AP:

WICHITA — Kansas voters who registered using a national form without providing proof of U.S. citizenship will be given full provisional ballots during the Aug. 5 primary elections — but only the votes they cast in federal races will actually be counted, the state’s top election official said Tuesday.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach told The Associated Press that fewer than 100 Kansas voters who used the federal registration form without providing citizenship documents will be affected.

“No one is disenfranchised — any person can vote a full ballot by providing proof of citizenship,” Kobach said. “The notion a person is disenfranchised because they have to provide proof of citizenship is a silly one.”

As of Tuesday, more than 18,000 Kansans still had their voter registrations suspended pending documentation of citizenship. The vast majority used the state form to register, and they will still not be allowed to vote at all in the primary or general election unless they prove to state election officials that they are U.S. citizens.

The exception that allows the federal registrants to still vote in the August primaries for federal races comes because the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a judge’s ruling that had forced federal election officials to help Kansas and Arizona enforce their citizenship requirements.

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