Opinion Columns & Blogs

Tossing some votes at odds with ballot secrecy

As per a federal court order, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has advised local election officials to use provisional ballots to allow “motor-voter” registrants to vote in upcoming elections, but to throw out their votes for all but federal races. The method could grant at least partial voting rights to as many as 50,000 Kansans who’ve registered at motor vehicle offices since 2013 but haven’t provided citizenship proof. But it also brings to mind a Shawnee County District Court judge’s January observation in another Kobach-related ruling – that provisional ballot procedures do not guarantee a voter’s anonymity and that “voting precinct personnel are often not indifferent strangers,” especially in small precincts. The judge also asked: “How apprehensive would Donald Trump be now if he had voted for Hillary Clinton for U.S. senator in New York under the same procedures that apply to provisional ballots in Kansas?” – Rhonda Holman