Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship law for voting, already a source of controversy, is about to get even more attention as reports emerge that the Secretary of State’s office is moving ahead with plans to set up a two-track voter list that would limit some voters to casting ballots only in federal elections if they fail to produce the required citizenship documents. The Wichita Eagle has more:
With court action over the state’s proof-of-citizenship voting law looming, Secretary of State Kris Kobach is laying groundwork for a system that would allow some voters to vote in all elections while others could only vote for Congress and presidential tickets.
Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, an opponent of the proof-of-citizenship law, said he received confirmation from the Department of Legislative Research this week that Kobach is moving forward with the plan to limit voters who follow federal registration rules to voting only in federal elections.
Separately, a memo to all the state’s county election officials outlines procedures for identifying and tracking voters who use the federal form and creating a separate category for them in voting databases.
If the proposed plan goes through, jurisdictions would be required to limit voters to different ballots depending on the source of their registrations:
Voters who fill out the state form and don’t submit the citizenship proof have their voting privileges suspended until they do. At present about 17,500 voters are “in suspense.”
Kobach, Bryant’s boss, confirmed he’s planning for elections with different ballots for different voters, depending on whether they register under federal or state rules. He said it’s “merely a contingency plan” in case he loses a lawsuit seeking to make federal officials adopt Kansas rules for voters in Kansas.
The plan creates three classes of registered voters, according to the Legislative Research report provided to Ward on Thursday:
• Voters using either the federal or Kansas form and providing state-required documents proving their citizenship would be able to vote in all federal, state and local elections.
• Voters who use the federal form but don’t provide citizenship documents will be allowed to vote only for candidates running for president, vice president and Congress.
• Registrants who file a Kansas form but don’t provide citizenship documents will be put in suspension and won’t be allowed to vote in any election.
It isn’t clear what would happen to voters who have provided proof of citizenship but are in “suspense” because of delays at the Department of Revenue – but that will certainly be a flashpoint of discussion in coming weeks as well.
Voter Suppression Director (Latino Division) Kobach is not a fringe figure among hard Right conservatives (so all of them). He’s hugely influential:
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration bill, ensured on Tuesday that the Republican Party platform will also have his fingerprint. During a meeting of the GOP platform committee in Tampa, Fla., Kobach called for the party to officially back increased border fencing and the E-Verify employment verification system, and to go after two immigrant-friendly initiatives: in-state tuition for some undocumented young people and so-called sanctuary cities. Those measures were in the 2008 Republican platform but had been dropped from the draft this year, Politico reported.
“These positions are consistent with the Romney campaign,” Kobach said. “As you all remember, one of the primary reasons that Governor Romney rose past Governor Perry when Mr. Perry was achieving first place in the polls was because of his opposition to in-state tuition for illegal aliens.”
You may remember this minor scandal in the Romney campaign, where they had a Right wing nut ideologue (Kobach) advising them on immigration, denied it when confronted about it, and then were contradicted by the ideologue who said he was advising them on immigration. One has to be pretty powerful to contradict the candidate, but Kobach was happy to correct Mitt Romney:
Como se dice “Etch a Sketch” en espanol? Over the weekend, I noticed that Kris Kobach, Mitt Romney’s unpaid immigration adviser — and the inspiration for Romney’s “voluntary deportation” strategy – wasn’t included in a fairly comprehensive Boston Globe rundown of staff, advisers and the kitchen cabinet types. When I asked Boston if Kobach was still an “adviser,” a Romney spokesperson emailed back: “supporter.”
And then she sent a cut-pasted a copy of a press release from Kobach’s endorsement earlier this year.
About a month ago, when I wrote about the Kansas Secretary of State, author of the controversial Arizona and Alabama immigration laws, folks in Mittland were referring to Kobach as an informal adviser – and I picked up on a lot of anger at Kobach from Romney’s Hispanic supporters who blamed him for pushing the candidate to the right on immigration, which has cost him dearly in recent polls among Spanish-speaking voters.
At the time, several prominent Romney supporters predicted the former Massachusetts governor would begin distancing himself from Kobach once the nomination was sewn up.
UPDATE: Not so fast! Kobach contradicts: “No, my relationship with the campaign has not changed. Still doing the same thing I was doing before.” Asked what that entails, he said, “providing advice on immigration policy.” “I don’t want to go into great detail, but I communicate regularly with senior members of Romney’s team,” Kobach just told ThinkProgress.
The big voting battle in 2016 will be over suppression of the Latino vote. It’s already being waged in Texas. It will take media talkers as long to admit this newer obvious fact as it did for them to admit “voter fraud” was about suppressing the votes of AA, young people and poor people. That took 6 years.