Kansas and Arizona have similar voter registration laws but Secretary of State Kris Kobach says a major distinction means the Kansas law can continue as is.
“We took a more careful approach and our state statute does accept the federal forms and we do take all of the voter’s information and begin creating a voter file based on that federal form,” said Kobach.
The ‘Motor Voter’ registration form, called that because it’s available where you register for a drivers licence, has a line that asks the applicant to swear via signature they’re a citizen. There is a place to list your drivers licence number or attach a copy of a government issued ID but the federal government only requires a signature.
Washburn Law professor Bill Rich says the court takes exception with denying an application because the extra requirements aren’t met. ”What this Supreme Court decision says in essence, is unless you get permission from the election assistance commission, you cant make any of those additional requirements,” he said.
“We don’t reject the form outright like Arizona does,” Kobach explained.
The form does specify at some point, whether a copy of government id is attached to the application or the voter shows it at the polls, the applicant has to prove they’re a citizen.
Kansas First News political analyst Dr. Bob Beatty says it’s unclear what effect this law has had on state elections, ”This law is so new, we don’t yet have a handle on whether or not people have been scared away from registering to vote by the citizenship requirement.”