Politics & Government

Attorneys seek to add new plaintiff to federal lawsuit against Kobach

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Attorneys seeking to overturn a Kansas voting law have filed a motion to add a new plaintiff to a lawsuit against Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The federal suit against Kobach aims to strike down the state’s requirement that prospective voters show proof of citizenship in order to register. The effort hit a snag last month when Kobach’s office registered the two plaintiffs after verifying with the state’s Bureau of Vital Statistics that they were born in Kansas.

Kobach said his office routinely checks to see whether people on the suspended registration list have birth records on file. But the plaintiffs’ attorneys accused him of registering their clients in an effort to get the case thrown out and avoid scrutiny in court.

The new plaintiff, Parker Bednasek, was born in Oklahoma.

“Unlike our two other plaintiffs, Kobach can’t simply go in and find Parker’s proof of citizenship. … This allows us to continue in court without him trying to dream up some schemes to try and attack our standing,” said Will Lawrence, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Bednasek, a student at the University of Kansas, was previously a resident of Texas, where he was registered as recently as Dec. 3. He attempted to register in Kansas on Dec. 4 and was placed on the suspended list after failing to provide proof of citizenship.

Attorneys filed a motion to add him to the lawsuit Dec. 21. If a judge approves the motion, it will be the first step in making the case a class action lawsuit, Lawrence said.

Craig McCullah, a spokesman for Kobach, said that the secretary of state’s office had received the motion and would request an extension from the judge before it responded.

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3