We talked about this last week:
With court action over the state’s proof-of-citizenship voting law looming, Secretary of State Kris Kobach is laying groundwork for a system that would allow some voters to vote in all elections while others could only vote for Congress and presidential tickets.
Arizona joins Kansas in creating two classes of voters:
The states are using an opening left in June by the United States Supreme Court when it said that the power of Congress over federal elections was paramount but did not rule on proof of citizenship in state elections. Such proof was required under Arizona’s Proposition 200, which passed in 2004 and is one of the weapons in the border state’s arsenal of laws enacted in its battle against illegal immigration.
The two states are also jointly suing the federal Election Assistance Commission, arguing that it should change the federal voter registration form for their states to include state citizenship requirements. While the agency has previously denied such requests, the justices said the states could try again and seek judicial review of those decisions.
The two-tiered system — deemed costly, cumbersome and prone to confusion by many of its opponents, as well as election officials in both states — threatens to derail an effort by Democrats and their allies to increase voter registration and turnout among Latinos and the poor, part of a push by the party to pick up local offices and seats in the states’ legislatures, where policies have been largely dictated by Republicans in recent years.
Matt Roberts, spokesman for the Arizona secretary of state, Ken Bennett — who, like Mr. Horne, is a Republican — said the small numbers do nothing to lessen the challenge of adding another ballot to a system already full of them, each based on variants like party affiliation, voting precinct, and legislative and Congressional districts.
“We have a hard enough time already to get people to go to the right voting place,” Mr. Roberts said. “The last thing any poll worker wants is to have to tell someone who might be voting for the first time why they can’t vote for governor.” He said Mr. Bennett supports requiring proof of citizenship but wants it for all elections.
Sowing chaos and confusion is part of the playbook for any robust voter suppression effort. We can also expect actual incompetence in election administration to play a role, as we saw in Pennsylvania last cycle where the GOP effort to administer the new rules they rushed in was such an absolute mess a court stepped in and halted the whole thing.
This effort to suppress Latino votes is both a short-term and a long-term strategy for conservatives because ethnic and racial minorities gain political power by winning state and (especially) local elections and developing a “bench” of candidates and a loyal local base of voters. These efforts will stop them before they get started on the path to national office.
Also, I’d just like to reiterate that Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas and the person behind this, is not a fringe figure on the Right. He was Moderate Mitt Romney’s advisor (although Romney denied it) and he’s in the absolute mainstream of the modern GOP. He’s also a regular on the conservative media grifter circuit.
Kris Kobach, 46, is a Professor of Law and lawyer who has litigated in courts across the country. He is a regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor (FOX News Channel) and Lou Dobbs Tonight (CNN).