Supreme Court Rejects Kansas Effort to Revive Voter Registration Law

December 15, 2020 by Dan McCue
The setting sun shines on the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Kansas that sought to revive a law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional in April, prompting the appeal by Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, a Republican who supported the law when he was in the state legislature.

And he decided to pursue the appeal over the objection of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat.

Though many states require people to show their driver’s license or other kind of photo ID to vote in person, Kansas has been the only state to require people to specifically produce their birth certificate or passport in order to register.

The law was the brainchild of former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who later went on to lead President Donald Trump’s dubious and now-defunct voter fraud commission.

Kobach was a leading source for Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally may have voted in the 2016 election.

According to court documents, nearly 30,000 people were prevented from registering to vote in Kansas during the three years the law was in effect. This despite the fact the state’s own expert believed most if not all were U.S. citizens and therefore eligible to vote.

As is their custom, the justices did not explain their rationale for rejecting the case.

There were no dissents.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who used to sit on the 10th circuit, sat out the Supreme Court’s consideration of the case.

The case is No. 20-109 Schwab, Sec. of State of Kansas v. Fish, Steven W., Et al.

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