Elections

Wichita man can vote after proving parents’ citizenship

A Wichita man will be allowed to vote in Tuesday’s presidential election after two of the state’s highest officers confirmed his parents were born in Kansas.

Dale Robert Weber was born on a U.S. military base in Germany in 1967. Weber’s voter registration application was placed in suspense after he attempted to register through the state’s website because he lacked the federal documents proving his citizenship.

In 2013, Kansas enacted a requirement that voters provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, when they register to vote. Supporters say it prevents noncitizens from voting. Opponents say it makes it more difficult for citizens to register.

Recent federal court rulings have ensured that people who registered at the DMV or filled out a federal registration form will be able to vote in this election regardless of whether they provided proof of citizenship. But the requirement remains in effect for people who register through the state’s website.

There are 7,179 people who won’t be allowed to vote in the election unless they provide proof of citizenship to their local election office by Monday, said Bryan Caskey, the state’s director of elections. Kansans can look up whether they’re registered on the state’s Voter View website.

Weber will be able to vote because the State Elections Board confirmed that both his parents were born in Kansas. Under federal law, the children of U.S. citizens are granted citizenship automatically at birth even when they’re born overseas.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who sit on the board, both voted to approve Weber’s voter registration on Wednesday, the last day for Kansans to appeal their suspended status to the board. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, the third member of the board, did not attend the meeting.

“It’s awesome. It’s going to be nice to be able to vote,” Weber said in a phone call Wednesday afternoon. He said he initially thought that he would be unable to vote until his wife researched the appeal process.

“The better half did me good,” he said.

Even though it created an extra step in the registration process, Weber said he supports the proof of citizenship requirement. “It’s a form of security to make sure it’s only U.S. citizens voting. I’m not trying to seem like a prejudiced man or nothing, but Americans only need to be doing the voting,” said Weber, a Republican.

This is the fifth time since 2013 that the State Elections Board has met to determine whether a voter was a citizen. All five times the board has voted to approve the voter’s registration.

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3

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