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Eagle editorial: Some voters less legitimate?

  • Published Thursday, June 12, 2014, at 12 a.m.

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Hard as it is to believe, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is making good on his threat to implement a two-tiered voting system in which some registered voters are treated as less legitimate than others and only some of the votes on their ballot will count.

Kobach told the Associated Press on Tuesday that those who registered to vote using the federal form without providing proof of citizenship will be given full provisional ballots for the Aug. 5 primary but that only the votes cast in federal races will be counted. Imagine the hassle local election officials will have trying to carry out that mandate.

That fewer than 100 Kansas voters used the federal form and therefore will be affected is no excuse, especially when it’s coming from the guy who used a tiny number of alleged voter-fraud cases to justify sweeping voter-ID and proof-of-citizenship voting changes in the state.

A registered Kansas voter who happened to use the federal form shouldn’t be penalized for doing so, at least not until the case brought by Kansas and Arizona related to their proof-of-citizenship requirements plays out in federal court.

And Kobach’s so-called remedy still leaves 18,000 would-be voters in limbo. They’re the ones who’ve tried to register using the state form but whose registrations – and voting rights – are pending for lack of documentation of citizenship, as required by state law as of 2013.

Kobach told the AP it’s “silly” to suggest such voters are disenfranchised. But what else can you call denying thousands of U.S. citizens their right to vote unless they come up with paperwork to prove they aren’t illegal immigrants?

For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman

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