Nine people in McPherson County were unable to register to vote as of Wednesday morning because they failed to provide proof of citizenship, according to the county clerk’s office.
Potential voters who have not registered to vote in Kansas before must provide proof of citizenship under Kansas’ Secure and Fair Elections law of 2011, or SAFE. More than 15,000 people in the state are currently unable to vote because they have not provided proof of citizenship.
The Secretary of State’s office is not releasing the names of those whose registration has been blocked by the proof of citizenship requirement.
Cathy Schmidt, county clerk, said when the clerk’s office receives voter registration forms without proof of citizenship, the office will send letters to the applicants reminding them to submit proof of citizenship.
Acceptable citizenship documents include a birth certificate or a United States passport. A complete list can be found on the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website at www.kdor.org/voterregistration/
These documents can be submitted as PDF attachments during online registration or sent to the county clerk via email, mail, fax or hand delivery.
Because people often register to vote when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, some aren’t able to provide proof of citizenship when applying. However, a worker at the clerk’s office said most people will send proof when it is requested.
Schmidt said providing proof of citizenship can be a challenge for others. While she doesn’t know why there are so many people who haven’t provided proof of citizenship, she said many people don’t have copies of their birth certificate. Copies of birth certificates must be acquired from the place a person was born.
Those born in Kansas can request their birth certificates from the Office of Vital Statistics online at www.vitalchek.com or by phone at (785) 296-3253 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.
They also can go to the Curtis State Office Building, 1000 S.W. Jackson, Suite 120, in Topeka from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays or request copies by mail.
Most requests can be completed within three to five business days after the request is received. Copies of birth certificates cost $15 each.
Those not born in Kansas must request certificates from the place in which they were born. This can cost between $5 and $30 for those born in the United States or one of its territories.
“Kansas isn’t going to provide people from Washington with their birth certificate,” Schmidt said.
Those born overseas can use other documents to prove United States citizenship. Copies of these documents must be requested from the U.S. Department of State.
Page 2 of 2 - Schmidt said obtaining a certificate can sometimes take up to eight weeks. She said people might not know who to talk to or where to go, and the process is too much for some.
“It takes some effort,” Schmidt said. “If they don’t need it for any other reason, are they going to go to that expense?”
More information about requesting birth certificates can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm
Contact Josh Arnett by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ArnettSentinel.