Kansas and Arizona are trying to implement something called "two tiered voter registration" as a way to get around federal court rulings saying those states can't require proof of citizenship for voter registration.
But since those rulings only apply to federal elections, Kansas is treating voters differently depending on whether they provide the documents and which voter registration form they used. The details are complicated - long version here - Some voters would only be allowed in federal elections and would get a ballot with just the federal offices - president, US Senate and US House.
After proof-of-citizenship took effect, sidewalk and door-to-door voting registration drives ground to a halt because of the impracticality of getting the needed documents to complete the process.States tried this before, back in the 90s when the Motor Voter law kicked in. Mississippi - very telling, there - in particular tried hard to limit the franchise for people who registered through drivers license bureaus or other agencies to just federal elections. They lost.
Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, said (Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach is) doing voters a disservice by demanding documents that most people don’t have close at hand and that Congress and the Supreme Court says they don’t have to provide.
He said he once asked Kobach how to collect the documents in a registration drive and Kobach’s response was “carry a copy machine with you.”
“It was a snarky response, but I think it tells you his attitude toward the right to vote,” Ward said.
I hesitate to write about this because I don't want to give folks any ideas. Last year our local Farm Bureau federation passed a resolution stating that "students should be required to vote by absentee ballot from their parent's address" - a harder process which makes it less likely to actually happen. They're still mad that student votes were decisive in narrowly passing a conservation funding measure that was on the 2008 presidential ballot.
And they can't say so for obvious PC reasons, but Sally Mason, Matt Hayek, and a whole lot of Love The Hawkeyes Hate The Students townies would sure be happy if it were harder for students to vote on local offices and, oh, maybe ballot issues. (If you missed it, my Vote Yes on 19 editorial re-runs today, this time in the DI.)