ACLU sues over two-tiered elections planned in Kansas

ACLU sues over two-tiered elections planned in Kansas

ACLU sues over two-tiered elections planned in Kansas

A portion of a lawsuit filed against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday by Kansas residents and the state chapter of the ACLU claims that a 2013 law and a new regulation that prevents some voters from casting ballots in state races are illegal and unconstitutional. Marvin Brown, Joann Brown and Charles William Stricker III ask a federal judge in Topeka to issue a temporary injunction that would allow them to vote in the primary and the November general election.

A Shawnee County judge previously ruled that Kobach has no legal or regulatory authority to conduct a "dual" registration system in which certain voters may only vote in federal elections.

The conservative Republican contends proving citizenship is "absolutely essential", because every time a noncitizen votes it cancels out the vote by a citizen and disenfranchises them.

— March 29, 2011: The Kansas Legislature passes an elections reform bill, the "Secure and Fair Elections Act", which requires people to provide evidence of USA citizenship — such as a passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers — in order to register to vote.

There are exceptions. Residents who registered to vote before the law took effect on January 1, 2013, are permitted to vote in both federal and state elections.

The three seek to have the case certified as a class action on behalf of all Kansas residents who registered to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles using the federal registration form.

ACLU sues over two-tiered elections planned in Kansas
ACLU sues over two-tiered elections planned in Kansas

"My family has been in Kansas since about 1850", Brown said.

The rule violates state law and the Kansas Constitution, the ACLU said in an announcement accompanying the lawsuit.

— September 7, 2015: Two young Kansas residents file a federal lawsuit seeking to prevent the state from requiring them to document their US citizenship and to keep election officials from removing their names and thousands of others from registration rolls.

The board's approval came a day before the state opened advance voting for its August 2 primary, and it's allowed by law if an agency, such as Kobach's office, sees quick action as necessary to preserve "the public peace, health, safety or welfare".

"[Kobach] found time last week to do actual damage to Kansans with a devious, 11th-hour policy that would disqualify 17,000 of them as state voters, even though they are allowed by law to vote in federal elections", the Times editorial board wrote. The court says that states can not impose proof-of-citizenship requirements above those set on the federal voter registration.

Arizona enacted the nation's first proof of citizenship law in 2004, followed by similar laws in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama. Arizona does not require additional citizenship papers from people registering at motor vehicle offices.

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