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Kobach still hopes for earlier start date for proof-of-citizenship plan despite computer woes

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, March 14, 2012, at 11:07 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at 6:49 a.m.

— Secretary of State Kris Kobach is undeterred by computer woes that have pushed back the date the Department of Motor Vehicles will be able to provide proof-of-citizenship documentation to election offices.

Kobach said he’ll go before a legislative committee Thursday with an amendment that will still require proof of citizenship to register to vote before this fall’s primary and general elections.

Under a law passed last year, citizenship proof won’t be required to register to vote until Jan. 1, 2013; Kobach is hoping lawmakers will pass a bill this year moving the implementation up to June 15.

Kobach argues that the current system allows for widespread voting fraud, while his opponents say the real purpose is to suppress voter turnout among elderly and minority voters who are less likely to have immediate access to citizenship-proving documents such as a birth certificate or passport.

The DMV and Kobach had hoped to have a system in place by June 15 in which scans of citizenship documents would be provided to voter offices across the state. But today, the DMV reported that it can’t have its new computer system up and running until August at the earliest.

State officials have said previously that getting the new system up and running is critical to the plan for the DMV to link citizenship documents to the right to vote.

Today, Kobach said he’ll offer the Legislature an amendment that would bypass the computer problem and allow the DMV to simply certify it had received citizenship proof when people register to vote. The actual documents would not be transferred to county election officials and the secretary of state’s office until Jan. 1.

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