Will Supreme Court ruling impact Kansas voter registration law?

Voter registration

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WICHITA, Kansas — The Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law on Monday and it could impact a similar Kansas law.

“I would think the Kansas requirement is in trouble,” says political science analyst Jeff Jarman. “The Supreme Court ruled the federal law preempts these kinds of state initiatives.”

That federal law is the 1993 Voter Registration Act that requires a potential voter to promise, in writing, they are a legal citizen. But Arizona went a step further, passing a law that requires proof of citizenship from anyone using a federal form. The Supreme Court ruling says the Arizona law should not stand.

But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says this ruling will not impact the Kansas law that has a similar requirement.

“That was probably not the best way to draft their (Arizona) state statute,” says Kobach. “Kansas on the other hand, we took a more careful approach and our state statute does accept the federal form and we do take all the voter’s information and create a voter file based on that federal form. We also ask the voter to provide proof of citizenship but we don’t reject the form outright.”

Jarman says, while he is not a practicing attorney, he still believes the Kansas law could be on shaky ground. And, he says, the fight over voter registration is far from over.

“I think that’s a real possibility because you will find federal courts who make split decisions on those kinds of rules and that will require the Supreme Court  to step in,” says Jarman. “And our secretary of state is on the leading edge of pushing for new rules and new regulations and I don’t think that is going away. It’s still on his agenda and he will read the (Supreme Court) decision and they will make new rules.”

Kobach maintains the Kansas law will stand.

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