Opinion Columns & Blogs

Why did few newly registered voters go to polls?

There is plenty of speculation about why only 73 Kansans who gained voting rights a few days before the August primary cast ballots in that election. The Kansans were among about 18,000 people who registered to vote at Department of Motor Vehicles offices but didn’t provide proof of citizenship. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled that the state had to approve the registrations and allow them to vote, because they had fulfilled federal registration requirements. An attorney for the ACLU suggested the low participation was “an obvious result of a confusing system of laws.” Meanwhile, Secretary of State Kris Kobach speculated that many of the registrants “are probably people who have already moved away from the state of Kansas or moved to a different county.” What is known is that 73 voters is nearly 25 times more than the three illegal voters that Robinson said the state had identified from the millions of votes cast from 1995 to 2013. – Phillip Brownlee