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Proposal Would Cancel Unfinished Kansas Voter Registrations After 90 Days

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is pushing a plan to cancel voter registrations if they aren’t completed within 90 days. Kansas law requires people registering to vote for the first time to prove their citizenship, and more than 30,000 voter registrations are on hold because they don't include the documents. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, a hearing Wednesday will give the public a chance to weigh in on the plan.

Secretary Kobach says Kansas county governments have to maintain the lists and try to contact the would-be voters. Kobach says the change will lighten the load on counties and save taxpayer money currently used trying to contact the people.

“There are some that have been on the list for over two years, even going on three years. Many of those people, we did a sample of them and looked at them, many people have actually moved away,” Kobach says.

Voters who have their registrations canceled could start the process again by filling out a new application.

League of Women Voters of Kansas Co-President Marge Ahrens says the change won’t fix the underlying issue blocking people from registering. She says they use the list of suspended voters to help find people who might need help completing their registrations.

“Taking them off the list without any requirement that the list be maintained really is a threat to all of those people who said they wanted to register to vote,” Ahrens says.

The secretary of state’s office is taking comments on the proposal. Comments will be accepted by email to desiree.taliaferro@sos.ks.gov through Wednesday.

A version of this piece originally aired Aug. 31 during All Things Considered.