Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday faced impassioned opposition from civic groups and lawyers as he urged a panel of lawmakers to authorize a two-ballot system for state and federal voting…..
“We have discovered a very significant problem with noncitizens voting in Kansas,” Kobach said, citing Sedgwick County as an example and saying an academic analysis had concluded as many as 18,000 noncitizens could be on Kansas’ voter rolls.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman, elaborating on the situation in her county, told the panel her office had learned of 32 people since Jan. 1, 2013, who had filled out voter registration forms though they weren’t citizens at the time.
Fourteen noncitizens succeeded in registering, she said, before Kansas instituted a proof of citizenship requirement, and five of the 14 voted.
“Without having the ability to check our entire database, I have no way (of) knowing how many more registrants may not be citizens,” she said.
Doug Bonney, the ACLU’s chief counsel and legal director, submitted testimony arguing the bill “would contribute to what a federal court has already called the ‘mass denial of a fundamental constitutional right.’ ”
Bonney was referring to a 2016 decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Voter registration by noncitizens is simply not a real problem in Kansas or elsewhere,” his testimony said. “The Secretary of State has not brought a single case against a noncitizen for registering or voting.”