Repealing Kansas' Voter Suppression Law
35,314 Kansas citizens tried to register - but couldn’t sort through the government red tape.
It's time to repeal Documentary Proof of Citizenship (DPOC).
What is Kansas' Documentary Proof of Citizenship?
Under DPOC, a voter is required by Kansas policy to give personal paperwork (such as a birth certificate, a passport, or naturalization paperwork) in order to register to vote. A court ruled DPOC to be unconstitutional and in violation of federal law, and, even though it cannot enforce it, Kansas still has this unconstitutional statute on the books that prevented tens of thousands of voters from exercising their Fourteenth Amendment right to vote.
How is DPOC unconstitutional and in violation of the National Voting Rights Act?
In June 2018, a G.W. Bush-appointed judge of the 10th Circuit Court decided in the case of Fish v. Kobach* that Kansas’s DPOC statute was unduly burdensome and therefore a violation of a person’s Fourteenth Amendment right to vote. The court also ruled that DPOC was directly contrary to the National Voting Right Act’s prohibition against requiring “any information that duplicates information required in the driver’s license portion of the form.”
The Impact of DPOC on Kansas Citizens
When DPOC was first implemented, 35,314 registered voters were placed on Kansas’ suspended voter list from failure to submit documentary proof of citizenship. This means over 35,000 people who were eligible to vote were blocked because of burdensome paperwork.
Individuals 18-29 were three times more likely to be on the suspended list. Under this law, Kansas was in the lowest five states in the country for youth voter turnout.
There was a significant drop in voter registrations 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 crosses 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. Let’s finally close the door on Kobach’s failed policies and repeal DPOC now.
Contact your state legislators and tell them to repeal DPOC to help ensure that 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.
*The United States District Court for the District of Kansas ruled on this case in June 2018. The Court’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law are available here. Citation: Fish v. Kobach, 309 F. Supp. 3d 1048 (D. Kan. 2018)