KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KSHB) – This week, thousands of partially complete voter registrations will disappear in Kansas – many of them because they didn’t provide proof of citizenship.
A grassroots organization found among those on the list are active members of the military.
The Vote Kansas website allows people to determine the status of a voter’s registration.
However, some feel the proof to get to that point is too rigid for average citizens and even those fighting for their country.
As soon as Jasmine Banks moved to Kansas, she tried to register to vote. The Wyandotte County Election Office immediately turned her away because she didn’t have proof of citizenship.
“I got my master’s degree in counseling and psychology and decided to start a new adventure, and of course my first week I stirred up trouble by not being able to register to vote,” Banks explained.
She realized when she went to look for her birth certificate, locating it wasn’t as easy as she thought.
“I went back to Arkansas and really couldn’t find where my birth certificate was, so I have a family member who’s in Arkansas who’s going to find it and mail it to me so that I can register to vote, but again, this is an issue of privilege, I have a cell phone, I can contact a family member,” said Banks.
She’s one of more than 36,000 voters in Kansas who have not met all the requirements to vote. Starting Friday, anyone who has been on that list for more than 90 days will be removed.
Protect Our Military Vote, a grassroots organization, found at least 20 in Sedgwick County alone are active members of the military.
“This is a limited process that we’re able to go through,” explained Mike Hoheisel with Protect Our Military Vote.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said the policy of purging the names is meant to save the state money. Over the past two years, Sedgwick County reportedly spent $20,000 on registration reminders to suspended voters.
Still, Protect Our Military Vote contacted some on the list and found many weren’t aware their registration may soon disappear.
“I don’t think I talked to a single person who knew why they were on the list,” said Hoheisel.
Banks hopes this will bring awareness about the difficult process for all citizens.
“It’s not just military members, it’s huge swaths of people who need to be represented, who need to have a right to vote, who need to have their voices heard and represented, but that’s not happening,” said Banks.
The Wichita Eagle analyzed the 36,000 suspended voters and found 40 percent of people on the list are under the age of 30 and more than half on the list are unaffiliated with a party.