Kansas to ask Supreme Court to save voter citizenship law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ Republican attorney general plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the state to require new voters to provide papers documenting their citizenship when registering.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Tuesday that he will appeal a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in April that said the state could not enforce a proof-of-citizenship law. An appeals-court panel said the law violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal legal protection as well as a federal voter registration law.

The law was championed by former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a hard-right conservative, as a way to combat voter fraud. But both the appeals court and a federal judge in Kansas concluded that Kobach could show only a small potential for fraud that didn’t justify such restrictions on voting rights.

The Republican-controlled Legislature approved the law at Kobach’s urging in 2011 and it took effect in 2013.

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Schmidt said in a statement Tuesday that as long as the law remains formally on the books it deserves “a full and robust legal defense.”

“Voting is only for citizens, and this Kansas law is designed to confirm the citizenship of those registering to vote,” Schmidt said.

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