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Kansas Counties Begin Process Of Canceling Incomplete Voter Registrations

Stephen Koranda
Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell

County election officials in Kansas are beginning to implement a new rule that cancels incomplete voter registrations after 90 days. The rule faces a legal challenge, but a court last week declined to put it on hold. The secretary of state’s office recommends registrations that have now been incomplete for more than 90 days be canceled.

Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell says his workers are beginning the process of combing through their more than 2,000 incomplete registrations.

“It’s going to take us weeks, for sure. It could stretch into a month, or two or three by the time we get everything completed and make sure it’s correct and make sure we’ve completed our communication with everyone affected,” Howell says.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew says county legal staff suggested they couldn’t apply the new rule retroactively. He’s starting the 90-day clock over again for anyone with an incomplete registration.

“We never gave them a date that said, ‘By the way, you’ll be removed October 2nd.’ I don’t think it’s fair to apply that if they don’t have that knowledge,” Shew says.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach proposed the change to clear a backlog of incomplete voter registrations, many of which are missing citizenship documents required under Kansas law.

Anyone who has a registration canceled can fill out a new voter registration form to start the process again.