Election

June 24, 2014

Kobach challenger’s daughter affected by Kansas voter rule

The youngest daughter of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s challenger in the Republican primary had her voter registration put on hold temporarily because of a proof-of-citizenship requirement criticized by her father, Scott Morgan.

The youngest daughter of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s challenger in the Republican primary had her voter registration put on hold temporarily because of a proof-of-citizenship requirement criticized by her father.

GOP challenger Scott Morgan said Monday the Douglas County clerk’s office told his 18-year-old daughter, Grace, that her registration was incomplete last week because she hadn’t documented her U.S. citizenship. Morgan is a Lawrence lawyer and businessman, and Grace Morgan is a University of Kansas student.

Scott Morgan said his daughter registered online last week and submitted an electronic image of her passport, only to receive the letter days later asking for documentation of her citizenship. His campaign’s Facebook page Sunday posted a picture of his daughter holding the letter, and he tweeted about it.

Kobach’s office said with online registrations, processing images of documents and sending them to the proper counties takes a few days. The Douglas County clerk’s office confirmed Grace Morgan’s registration Monday.

But Morgan called the situation a “fiasco.”

He said the proof-of-citizenship law has put such a burden on new voters that many of them, particularly young people, will simply “walk away” when confronted with such obstacles. As of Monday, about 18,700 registrations were on hold over the proof-of-citizenship requirement.

“The only people getting caught in it are people trying to register to vote,” Scott Morgan said.

Kobach championed the proof-of-citizenship law as a way to prevent non-citizens – particularly illegal immigrants – from voting. He argues it’s easy for new voters to comply because they can present multiple forms of documentation and send electronic images from their cell phones.

Brad Bryant, Kobach’s elections director, said the Douglas County clerk’s office has been “ultra-efficient” in notifying residents about issues with their registrations and mailed its letter before the image of Grace Morgan’s passport was processed.

“The system takes a couple of days,” Bryant said. “It worked as it was built.”

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew, a Democrat, said his office seeks to mail notices to residents within 24 hours.

“I have no intent for us to delay sending out the letters,” he said.

The winner of the Aug. 5 Republican primary will face Democrat Jean Schodorf, a former state senator from Wichita.

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