Kansans who register to vote using a federal form at the Department of Motor Vehicles will have to provide proof of citizenship as a lawsuit plays out, a judge ruled Wednesday.
The League of Women Voters and other civil rights groups had sought a preliminary injunction to block such rules in Kansas, Alabama and Georgia.
“Because it’s a barrier to voting,” says Dolores Furtado, the immediate past president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas. “The percentage of eligible registered people that vote is sometimes terrible.”
It’s the league’s position that Kansans who register to vote using the federal form shouldn’t be subject to stringent proof-of-citizenship rules championed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Furtado says the voter registrations of thousands of Kansans who initiated the process at the DMV are currently in limbo.
“I characterize it right now as we have a lot of people who’ve taken the first step,” Furtado says. “They need to take another step, then they’re on their way to walking.”
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Furtado says the League of Women Voters will likely appeal Judge Richard J. Leon’s decision. “It is the one day of the year where the power of every American that votes is equal,” she says. “We really want to have the voices heard.”
Until the case is settled, Furtado says her focus will be on helping Kansans provide the documentation they need to register to vote.
Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.