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Kobach Will Continue To Push For Proof Of Citizenship

Carla Eckels
KMUW/File Photo

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday they won't hear a lawsuit that looked to add proof of citizenship requirements to federal registration forms in both Kansas and Arizona.

The decision keeps in place a dual-registration system in Kansas. Proof of citizenship--often a birth certificate or passport--is still required on state voter registration forms, but will not be mandated on federal forms. 

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wrote the state's proof of citizenship law and headed the lawsuit against federal election officials after they refused to add it to federal registration forms.

He says Kansans can decide to go the route of not proving their citizenship, but their votes will only count in federal elections.

"Someone who uses that federal form and either refuses, forgets or, for whatever reason, doesn't provide their proof of citizenship, they're only going to be registered to vote in federal elections because that's all the federal form purports to cover," Kobach says.

Kobach says only about 300 people use the federal form in Kansas, but he'll continue to push for proof of citizenship to be included in it. He believes the requirements protect against voter fraud and that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case in the future.

He says if both the state and federal forms require proof of citizenship, Kansas will have close to an "airtight" election process, referring to voter fraud.

Opponents of Kansas' proof of citizenship requirement say it prevents thousands of eligible voters from casting their ballots.

According to the Sedgwick County Election Office, there are currently 7, 240 people countywide who are unable to vote because they have not provided election officials with proof of citizenship.