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ACLU, Kansas Secretary of State battle over 'dual registration' system for voters


TOPEKA, Kansas — The American Civil Liberties Union wants a judge to declare illegal the so-called "dual registration" system for voters in Kansas while Secretary of State Kris Kobach seeks to have the lawsuit dismissed.

Under that system, people who register to vote using a federal form, which doesn't require voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship, may only vote in federal races, the Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/1Kb0Th6 ) reported. Voters may only cast ballots in state and local races if they register using the state form, which requires proof of citizenship.

A judge had ruled last month that the lawsuit could go forward despite Kobach arguing the plaintiffs didn't have standing to sue.

The ACLU filed a motion for summary judgment last Friday in the case. An attorney representing Kobach's office also filed on the same day a motion to have the suit dismissed.

Since January 2013, Kansas has required new voters to show proof of citizenship to register to vote. More than 30,000 would-be voters have had their registrations placed "in suspense" because they haven't provided the required documents.

Federal law requires states to honor registrations that are filled out using the federal form, and Kobach in response instituted the dual registration system.

Legal director Doug Bonney for the ACLU's Kansas chapter said his clients, Aaron Belenky of Johnson County and Scott Jones of Douglas County, were affected by the system.

Kobach's office claimed the two plaintiffs didn't have standing to sue because the office went to great lengths to find citizenship documents to get them fully registered.

Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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