DENVER—Wednesday, a federal appeals court panel ruled in the League of Women Voters of Kansas case, Fish v. Schwab (previously Fish v. Kobach), that Kansas voters do not need to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. The decision keeps in place a previous court ruling that found the citizenship proof requirement violates the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause and the National Voter Registration Act.
“We’re grateful the court ruled that this law is a burden to voters and violated the constitutional right to vote,” said Cille King, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas. “This proof-of-citizenship law did nothing to protect elections. It only barred tens of thousands of legitimate voters from making their voices heard. Today’s win affirms the need to put voters first in all our election laws.”
The League of Women Voters of Kansas brought this case along with several individual Kansas voters back in 2016, with representation by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Kansas, and Dechert LLP. A federal trial court struck down the law in June of 2018, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling this week affirmed that decision. The proof-of-citizenship requirement has been blocked since 2016.
“The League spent countless hours and considerable resources informing voters of how to comply with the proof-of-citizenship requirement,” said Teresa Briggs, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas. “We were relieved when the law was struck down in 2018, and we’re similarly relieved with the affirmative decision this week. Now, we call on Secretary of State Scott Schwab to end Kris Kobach’s assault on Kansas voting rights and drop any further appeals.”
Kansas’s next election is the Democratic presidential primary on May 2. The general primary is scheduled for August 4, and the deadline to register for that election is July 14.
Contact: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 | [email protected]
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A judge struck down a Kansas statute requiring documentary proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. The Secure and Fair Elections Act has blocked thousands of Kansans from registering to vote.
Earlier this month, the League of Women Voters of Kansas and other voting rights advocates fought to protect the nearly 35,000 voters at risk of being purged from Kansas’ voter rolls by testifying against the proposed changes.
Local Leagues throughout Kansas are reaching out to “purged” voters following changes to the state's proof-of-citizenship requirement on state voter registration forms. League volunteers will educate effected registrants to ensure that every person who registers to vote in Kansas is able to vote.
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