A federal appeals court ruled a Kansas voting law crafted by former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is unconstitutional and violates the National Voter Registration Act, commonly referred to as the “motor-voter law.”
The law required Kansans to provide proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate or passport) to register to vote. The law in effect blocked more than 30,000 Kansans from registering to vote.
A federal trial court struck down the law last summer citing violations of the National Voter Registration Act and the U.S. Constitution, prompting the state’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Kansas, and Dechert LLP challenged the law on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Kansas and individual Kansans.
“This decision safeguarding the rights of over 30,000 Kansas voters—including our clients—to participate in the 2020 upcoming elections free from unconstitutional burdens is a victory for democracy in Kansas,” said ACLU of Kansas Executive Director Nadine Johnson. “Today marks a new opportunity to remake our state into a model for citizen participation.”
Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, argued the case and hoped the ruling would open and expand voting access here in the state.
“This law disenfranchised tens of thousands of Kansans, denying them the most fundamental right in our democracy,” Ho said. “We are gratified the court stuck it down, and now call upon Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab to turn the page on Kris Kobach’s sorry legacy of voter suppression, drop any further appeals, and work with us collaboratively in the interests of all Kansas voters.”