July 29, 2016

CONTACT: Micah Kubic, executive director, ACLU of Kansas, 913-490-4101, [email protected]

OVERLAND PARK, KS – A Kansas district court judge has acted to protect the right of Kansans to vote in all elections.  Acting on a request made by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Judge Larry Hendricks issued an injunction preventing Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach from implementing a dual voter registration system in the August primary election.  The dual registration system that Secretary Kobach attempted to create would have allowed thousands of qualified Kansas voters to vote in federal elections, but prohibited them from voting in state and local elections due solely to their method of registration.  The ruling by Judge Hendricks protects the voting rights of thousands of Kansans, including at least 17,000 who registered to vote through the Division of Vehicles and were recently added to the voting rolls via a federal court order stemming from another ACLU lawsuit.

“We are gratified by today’s ruling, which removes yet another of the roadblocks to voting that Kris Kobach keeps trying to build,” said Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas.  “Secretary Kobach has been doing his best to prevent thousands of citizens from voting, but this ruling stops those attempts in their tracks. As a result, tens of thousands of Kansas citizens will have the opportunity to fully participate in democracy and civic life on Tuesday.  We look forward to the day when all of Secretary Kobach’s illegal, unnecessary, and deeply harmful maneuvers to suppress voting are struck down.”

The injunction came out of a lawsuit, Brown v. Kobach, filed by the ACLU earlier this month.  The suit was filed after Secretary Kobach received administrative approval for a temporary regulation aimed at formalizing the dual voter registration system.  That regulation was approved by a state administrative board in early July, despite the fact that a state court had previously declared that the dual voter registration system violates state law.  In a case brought by the ACLU, Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis ruled earlier this year that Secretary Kobach cannot stop Kansans from voting in state and local elections simply because they registered to vote using federal forms that don’t require the onerous documentation that Kobach prefers.

Today’s court ruling blocks the implementation of the dual voter registration system only for the primary election on Tuesday, August 2.  Judge Hendricks has scheduled a hearing in late September to determine whether to block implementation of the dual voter registration system for the November general election.

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