Kansas appeals to reinstate proof-of-citizenship rule

Arguing that states “don’t need to be authorized by the federal government” to set up state and local election process rules, Kansas last week asked the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate its requirement that Kansans provide proof of U.S. citizenship before being registered to vote:

The mandate that Kansans present passports, birth certificates or other proof of citizenship when registering to vote while obtaining driver’s licenses was challenged by a U.S. District Court judge in May.


“Every time a noncitizen votes, it effectively cancels out the vote of a citizen,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in court filings ahead of Tuesday’s oral arguments… “We don’t need to be authorized by the federal government” to set up rules to manage state and local elections.

Ensuring that only eligible citizens are able to vote wasn’t always considered a controversial affront to civil rights, as the ACLU now claims, but a commonsense safeguard.


The 2005 report of the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform included in its recommendations on voter identification: “The right to vote is a vital component of U.S. citizenship, and all states should use their best efforts to obtain proof of citizenship before registering voters.”