Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Appeals court upholds decision blocking Kan. proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirement

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld an earlier decision blocking Kansas from requiring residents to prove they are U.S. citizens when registering to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Brian Lowry reports for The Wichita Eagle. The decision affects 19,000 Kansans who registered to vote at the DMV without showing proof of citizenship.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, refused to register those residents to vote, citing fears of voter fraud, Lowry writes. Republicans favor voter-ID laws, saying they cut down on voter fraud, but Democrats say there is scant evidence of voter impersonation and the laws make voting more difficult for minorities—who are more likely to vote Democratic.

In its order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit said "the National Voting Rights Act preempts the Kansas proof of citizenship requirement and that 'no constitutional doubt arises as to whether the NVRA precludes Kansas from enforcing its voter qualifications,'" Lowry writes.

Kobach was set to appear for a contempt hearing Friday, "but that was canceled after the secretary of state struck an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the plaintiffs in the case," Lowry writes. "Under that agreement, local election officials will have to send out letters informing all of the voters affected by the case that they have the right to vote in federal, state and local elections this November." (Read more)

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