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Kris Kobach Continues To Make Up Voting Rules As He Goes Along

Voter-citizenship-law
AP Photo / John Hanna

Thanks to the state's proof-of-citizenship law for new voters, Kansas currently has a backlog of 19,000 people who signed up to vote last year but have had their registrations frozen because they did not provide documentary proof of U.S. citizenship. Last year, Kobach began making preparations for the state to have a two-tier voting system, where voters who did not provide proof-of-citizenship would only be allowed to vote in federal elections.

According to The Kansas City Star, Kobach now wants to check the list of 19,000 frozen voters against records kept at the state health department. The process would determine which people on the list have Kansas birth certificates, one of several documents accepted as proof-of-citizenship. Kobach's office would be notified when matches are found.

“This, in my view, is good government,” Kobach told the Star.

But the new plan would mean that voters born in Kansas will benefit more from the rules than voters born in another state -- a point Kobach conceded to the Star.

“It’s an extra service but it’s not something that would amount to a violation of equal protection of law,” he said.

The newspaper also asked about women who change their names after marriage. Kobach said the health department tracks name changes, and those records will be part of the matching process.

Kobach's critics are not convinced.

“That is not actually going to work,” Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, told the Star.

In November, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in Kansas directly challenging the two-tier system.

About The Author

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com