Some Kansans Can't Vote Locally - KOAM TV 7

Some Kansans Can't Vote Locally


Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, is appealing a judge's ruling over who can vote in state and local elections. It centers around whether voters should be required to show proof of citizenship.

Rodney Edmondson says it's a confusing time to be county clerk in Kansas.

"There's so much unknown going through our minds right now," Edmondson said. 

Right now there are two issues still tied up in court. One about voters who register using a federal form, the other about voters registering through the DMV. Both, whether people who registered those ways should be allowed to vote in state and local elections. 

"By the forms not being the same, that creates a lot of confusion," Edmondson said. 

Confusion from the state requirement that voters need to register with a proof of U.S. citizenship. For most, that's a birth certificate or passport. But registering through the federal form or DMV doesn't require that proof.

In a recent ruling, a judge said to allow voters with DMV registration to vote in the state. But Kobach is still telling county clerks to only let those citizens who registered through the DMV, to vote in federal races. 

"We are taking our instructions from the secretary of state," Edmondson said. "Who has told us they are complying with the judges orders."

Just outside the clerk's office, one Baxter Springs resident doesn't see the issue with proof of citizenship. 

"You gotta make sure you're a citizen of the U.S.," he said. 

And those opinions may be due to the fact that not many people are expected to be impacted by the proof of citizenship requirement. According to the county clerk, only about 150 voters still need to provide that proof. Whereas, throughout the state, roughly 17,000 voters could lose their right to vote in state and local elections.

The clerk's office is sending letters to registered voters without proof of citizenship, so they can complete that part of their registration process in time for the August elections.

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