END VOTER SUPPRESSION
35,314 Kansas citizens tried to register in 2014—but couldn’t break through the government red tape.
It’s time to remove barriers for eligible voters and allow Kansas to lead in citizen participation in elections.
How Have Kansas Citizens Been Kept from the Polls?
Documentary Proof of Citizenship (DPOC) required voters to present personal paperwork (such as a certified birth certificate, a passport, or naturalization paperwork) in order to register to vote. A federal court ruled DPOC unconstitutional and a violation of federal law.*
The Impact of DPOC on Kansas Citizens
DPOC placed 35,314 registered voters were placed on Kansas’ suspended voter list for failure to submit documentary proof of citizenship. This meant that over 35,000 people who were eligible to vote were blocked because of burdensome paperwork.
Individuals 18-29 were three times more likely to land on the suspended list. Under this law, Kansas finished in the bottom five states in the country for youth voter turnout.
Voter registrations dropped significantly between October 2012 and October 2014 when DPOC took effect, even as Kansas’ population increased. The League of Women Voters of Kansas joined as a plaintiff on the case because DPOC made community-based voter registration nearly impossible.
This issue crossed party lines—Republicans made up 22% of suspended voters, Democrats made up 18%, and unaffiliated voters made up almost 58% of suspended voters.
Voting is one of our most cherished duties as Americans and is the lifeblood of a healthy democratic system. Removing onerous requirements for eligible voters means Kansas can lead in fulfilling our duty to the rest of the nation—citizen participation in elections.
The more that citizens participate in democracy, the stronger that democracy becomes.
*In June 2018, a G.W. Bush-appointed federal judge ruled in Fish v. Kobach that Kansas’ DPOC statute was unduly burdensome and a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment right to vote. The court also ruled DPOC contrary to the National Voter Registration Act’s prohibition against requiring “any information that duplicates information required in the driver’s license portion of the form.” The Court’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law are available at https://www.aclukansas.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/542-fish_v._kobach.pdf Citation Fish v. Kobach, 309 F. Supp. 3d 1048 (D. Kan. 2018)