Friday, July 29, 2016

BREAKING: Kansas Judge Just Halted Dual-Ballot Election; Arizona Continuing With Federal-Only Ballots For Some

A Kansas state court judge just halted that state's dual ballot system. While Arizona has a nearly-identical system, it appears the state is moving forward with federal-only ballots for some in next month's primary election.  The proof-of-citizenship related issue cost Arizona taxpayers a few hundred thousand dollars in 2014.

Earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued Kansas, which has a nearly- identical two-track system as Arizona. The two states require proof of citizenship when someone registers to vote, but the national voter registration forms have not required the proof. Thus, after the issue went to the U.S. Supreme Court, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne determined before the 2014 election that those who have not provided proof would only get a ballot for President and Congress.

This afternoon, the Kansas judge ruled from the bench that the approximately 17,500 Kansans impacted would be permitted to vote the full ballot, including for state and local elections. After a court defeat on the dual track system, Kobach had tried to implement a temporary regulation that would keep it in place for this election , and that formed part of the basis for the ACLU suit.

Earlier today, Secretary of State Michele Reagan's office told Arizona's Politics that counties were going forward with "the bifurcated ballot until something changes in the law." Last week, Communications Director Matt Roberts indicated that they have been saving taxpayers' money by hanging back and observing Kansas's battles, although "any court outcome will obviously impact us."

Two years ago, Maricopa County had estimated that the dual track ballots cost taxpayers $250,000. Each other county had smaller scale expenses, as they had to print federal-only ballots and make them available at every polling place in the state.

Here is the ACLU news release announcing the Kansas court's TRO ruling this evening. Arizona is obviously not bound by that state court's decision.

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