Vote suppression at work | Arkansas Blog

Vote suppression at work


A Washington Post editorial lays out the ultimate aim of the so-called election integrity commission being run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — vote suppression.

It fears the panel, whose work gathering voter information has been endorsed speedily twice  by Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin, is aiming at a national law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. Kobach got that done in Kansas. You must attest to being a citizen to vote in Arkansas, but producing such proof is often difficult, particularly for poor people without a passport or other documents. Both Kansas and Arizona have done it.

The requirement was a solution to a non-problem. In Kansas, a federal court found that in the 18 years before 2013, when the state rule went into effect, just 14 noncitizens attempted to register, and only three actually cast votes in federal elections.

But because many native-born and naturalized citizens lack documents such as passports, the law tripped up huge numbers of Kansans trying to register. In motor vehicle offices alone, where about 40 percent of Kansans sign up to vote, some 18,000 otherwise qualified applicants were blocked from registering, at least temporarily. At least 12,000 others who attempted to register elsewhere had similar problems; many of them were unable to vote in last year’s primaries and general election.
The Post editorial asserts that the Kobach commission is "stacked with Kobach clones who have made voter suppression into a political cottage industry." Let us hope Mark Martin's friend and commission appointee David Dunn, a current lobbyist and former Democratic state legislator, doesn't prove to be one of the stack.

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