Kansas Supreme Court Backs Voter Verification Requirements for Elections

The Kansas Supreme Court has backed measures that seek to ensure that voters are who they say they are when casting a ballot in America’s elections.

The state’s high court dismissed arguments that voters should be able to bypass election security measures due to a “fundamental” right to vote.

The court ruled that there is no “fundamental” right to vote in the state’s Constitution in a case dealing with election integrity safeguards.

The majority upheld that the legislature may adopt “reasonable” requirements, like voter ID and signature matching, to prove that people are who they say they are.

In reaching its conclusion about signature matching, the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ argument that voting is a “fundamental” right under the Kansas Constitution.

Adopting that view would subject voting restrictions to the highest threshold of review, called strict scrutiny.

The review requires a law to be “narrowly tailored” to a “compelling interest.”

The court held that restrictions on voting may pass muster so long as they do not impose additional requirements not mentioned in the Kansas Constitution.

A signature matching requirement does not pose an additional burden on voting, Justice Caleb Stegall wrote for the majority.

Rather, a permissible form of establishing proof that a voter is qualified, Stegall noted.

“Kansas law includes many other ‘proper proof’ provisions,” Stegall wrote.

“For example, a person voting at a polling place is required to provide their name, address (if required), signature, and a valid form of identification.”

The sweep of the court’s argument alarmed the dissent, which accused the majority of undermining the basic rights of Kansans.

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However, Kansas Republicans argued that applying the “strict scrutiny” standard would make it impossible to enact “common sense” election safeguards.

“If the dissenting opinions had prevailed, it would have made it nearly impossible for us to pass any voting laws,” Republican Pat Proctor said.

“The strict-scrutiny standard would have basically set the stage to remove signature requirements and to remove voter ID requirements.”

The court sent the signature verification law back to the lower courts for further testing, noting that “proper proofs” still require “constitutional guarantees such as those of equal protection and due process.”

The majority struck down a separate part of the law that makes it a crime to impersonate an election official.

Plaintiffs complained it would expose volunteers to prosecution, and the court agreed that the absence of a need to prove criminal intent “sweeps up protected speech in its net.”

The court sided with the state in upholding a ban on individuals collecting over 10 absentee ballots.

The plaintiffs challenged the ban on free speech grounds, but the court found that “delivering ballots is not speech or expressive conduct.”

Republican attorney general Kris Kobach hailed the court for upholding the collection law, calling it “an important way of limiting ballot harvesting.”

READ MORE – MSNBC Accuses Republicans of ‘Buying Votes’ by Cutting Taxes, Improving Economy

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By Nick R. Hamilton

Nick has a broad background in journalism, business, and technology. He covers news on cryptocurrency, traditional assets, and economic markets.

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