WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One voter.
That’s the total number of Kansans who registered to vote using the federal form without providing proof of citizenship and actually cast a ballot in the Aug. 5 primaries under a the state’s dual voting system, Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Tuesday.
Kobach, the state’s Republican top elections official and an architect of anti-immigration laws across the country, instituted the bifurcated voting system for this year’s elections after Kansas and Arizona sued to force the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to modify its national registration form to require their residents provide citizenship documentation. A federal judge in Kansas sided with the states, but the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked his order until it could decide the case. Oral arguments were heard Monday.
Of the nearly 180 Kansans who used the federal registration form without providing documentation, only one of them actually voted — in Johnson County, Kobach told the Associated Press.
Kobach had instructed counties to give provisional ballots to voters who registered using the national form without providing proof of citizenship. Under the state’s dual system, only their votes cast in the federal races — such as for the U.S. Senate — would be counted and any of their votes cast would be thrown out in state races such as for governor.
Jean Schodorf, the Democrat challenging Kobach in the secretary of state’s office, said she was not surprised only one of the federally registered voters cast a ballot under the dual system: “Why would they? They are second-class citizens, at least in Mr. Kobach’s eyes.”
“Kobach sees Kansas elections as an experiment for his personal agenda and voters as his lab rats,” Schodorf said.
Schodorf, who as a former state legislator voted for the proof-of-citizenship requirement, said Kobach never told the Legislature about the potential for a dual voting system or the thousands of people whose voter registrations would be stalled. If elected, she said she would make it simpler for people to prove their citizenship and contends the secretary of state’s office has the authority to issue waivers or to take disputed registrations to a state elections committee with the recommendation that those registrants be allowed to vote.
Kobach said he has no intention to ask the Legislature to change the state’s proof-of-citizenship voting requirements.
The voter registration forms of more than 18,000 Kansans who used the state form to register to vote remain on hold — unable to vote in any of the federal or state races. The secretary of state’s office is still figuring out how many of those state registrants tried to vote, but Kobach said it appears to be only a handful. All of their provisional ballots would have been discarded anyway.
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