The right to vote has long been considered our most fundamental right as citizens of the United States of America. Yet this right has been under attack by our own secretary of state who professes that people who are ineligible to vote are inundating our polls and voting anyway, though he’s offered little evidence of such.

What is clear, however, is that in attempting to make a case for voter fraud, thousands of eligible, law-abiding Kansas citizens were purged from the voter rolls, making it more difficult for them to exercise their constitutional right to vote in their country’s elections.

These facts were affirmed in a court of law by Judge Julie Robinson who wrote in her 118-page brief striking down Kobach’s proof of citizenship law, that it “disproportionally impacts duly qualified registration applicants, while only nominally preventing noncitizen voter registration. If eligible Kansans’ votes are not counted despite believing they are registered to vote, it erodes confidence in the electoral system.”

Robinson’s ruling brings Kansas another step closer to returning to a system that allows citizens to register to vote understanding they’ll be prosecuted under the penalty of perjury if they register knowing they’re ineligible to vote.

Still, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, himself a lawyer by training, saw fit first to reject the judge’s ruling and ordered county clerks to continue to operate a voter registration system ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

We’re pleased Secretary Kobach later decided it was good judgment to comply with the court’s ruling, but it is troubling to see an elected official act with such disregard for the rule of law.

Democracy only works when people can exercise their voice through their voting rights. Since Kobach’s proof of citizenship law was enacted, thousands of voters were purged from voter registration lists. Rather than ensuring more Kansans came to the polls, Kobach put in place systems that made voting more difficult, while failing to produce evidence of illegal immigrants voting in Kansas elections.

Now he’s instructed county clerks they should stop requiring the proof of citizenship documents.

It seems a prudent decision for Kobach to follow the judge’s ruling. But we shouldn’t accept at face value the secretary’s acceptance of the law. As the primary and general elections approach, it’s important we continue to monitor what’s happening within our voting network to ensure the spirit of the constitution is being carried out in the Kansas electoral system.

The right to vote is worth protecting. Enough with the fearmongering around illegal voters; it isn’t happening. Instead, let’s focus on establishing an election system that fosters greater participation from eligible voters, protects the integrity of voter data and safeguards against hacking and other security risks.

Topeka Capital-Journal


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