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Judge Says Kansas Secretary of State Has to Take Classes

And overturns Kansas voter proof of citizenship law
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2018 7:13 PM CDT
In this April 20, 2018, file photo, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach speaks during a rally in Topeka, Kan.   (AP Photo/Mitchell Willetts, File)

(Newser) – A federal judge ruled Monday that Kansas cannot require documentary proof of US citizenship to register to vote, finding such laws violate the constitutional right to vote in a ruling with national implications. The ruling by US District Judge Julie Robinson is the latest setback for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has championed such laws and led President Trump's now-defunct voter fraud commission. The 118-page decision came in two consolidated cases challenging a Kansas voter registration law requiring people to provide documents such as a birth certificate, US passport or naturalization papers. The decision strikes down the Kansas proof-of-citizenship registration law and makes permanent an earlier injunction that had temporarily blocked it, the AP reports.

In an extraordinary rebuke, the judge also ordered Kobach on Monday to complete an additional six hours of legal education on top of other requirements before he can renew his law license for the upcoming year. She imposed the sanction for his numerous disclosure violations. Kobach said his office would appeal the judge's "extreme conclusion," which he said was unlikely to survive scrutiny by a higher court. No other state has been as aggressive as Kansas in imposing proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirements. Also this week, the American Civil Liberties Union sued Kobach, challenging a multi-state voter registration database it claims exposed sensitive information including partial Social Security numbers from nearly a thousand state voters. The complaint alleges "reckless maintenance" of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which compares voter registration lists among participating states to look for duplicates. The program is aimed at cleaning voter records and preventing voter fraud but has drawn criticism for its high error rate and lax security. (Read more Kris Kobach stories.)

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