When the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement to register to vote, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach assured Kansans that their state’s requirement was OK. Nothing to see here, folks.
But later Kobach said that he was considering a bizarre scheme to divide registered voters into two groups – those who could vote for all races and issues, and those who could vote only in federal races. That appeared to recognize that Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship law as implemented could not survive legal challenge.
Now Kobach is suing the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to try to force it to modify the federal voter registration form to allow for requiring proof of citizenship – more recognition that Kansas’ law won’t hold up.
Rather than let Kobach continue this charade, other state leaders need to stand up. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Gov. Sam Brownback need to speak out and defend the 15,000 Kansans so far who have had their voting rights “suspended.” And Kansas legislators need to realize that they were misled by phony fears of voter fraud and rescind the proof-of-citizenship requirement.
If they won’t step up and take charge, it will be up to the courts to rein in Kobach – again.
Voters also should send Kobach a message next election – assuming he lets them vote.
For the editorial board, Phillip Brownlee