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Lawsuit Seeks to Block Rule That Cancels Incomplete Kansas Voter Registrations

Paul Davis in 2014 on the campaign trail. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)
Paul Davis in 2014 on the campaign trail. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

A lawsuit is targeting Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach over a new rule he put in place that will cancel incomplete voter registrations. The suit also asks a federal court to overturn the Kansas requirement that voters supply documents proving their citizenship.

More than 30,000 Kansas voter registrations have been put on hold because they don’t include the citizenship documents. Kobach’s new rule would cancel those incomplete registrations once they are 90 days old.

Paul Davis, a former Democratic candidate for governor, is heading up the lawsuit in federal court. It's filed on behalf of two Douglas County residents.

“We believe that people who are in suspense right now have constitutional rights and they have rights under federal law that do not allow the secretary of state to simply purge them from voter lists,” says Davis.

The new 90-day rule would take effect Friday, so Davis is expecting some kind of response from the court quickly.

A spokesperson for Secretary Kobach, Craig McCullah, says in a statement that the policy does not violate the law. He says voters can fill out a new voter registration form if their incomplete registration is canceled after 90 days. He points out that the lawsuit if being filed by two Democratic attorneys.

"One would think these individuals would have a better understanding of the law," says McCullah.

Stephen Koranda is KPR's Statehouse reporter.