Opinion Columns & Blogs

Voting law falls hardest on young, low-income

How disappointing, if unsurprising, that after the voter-registration deadline last month, young people and low-income residents dominated the more than 23,000 Kansans whose registrations were in limbo because of the law newly requiring proof of citizenship. Of those hitting the roadblock, 57 percent had declared as unaffiliated voters, according to the Lawrence Journal-World’s analysis, compared with 23 percent Republicans and 18 percent Democrats. Among the suspended voters interviewed by The Eagle were a disabled veteran (who eventually finalized her registration), students away at college, one man who said he had voted previously and a teen who said she already had supplied a birth certificate. When birth certificates or other documents must be obtained, the law functions like a poll tax as well as a deterrent. “Low-income voters are less likely to have access to documentary proof of citizenship. Young voters, who are more likely to rely on voter registration drives and online tools, have seen those opportunities diminished or taken away entirely,” Jonathan Brater, an attorney for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, told the Journal-World. – Rhonda Holman