While he is distracted with his quest against voter fraud, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is neglecting the real problem – voter apathy. According to research from the group Nonprofit Vote, which calculated percentages by dividing the number of ballots cast by the voting eligible population, Kansas slipped to 36th place among states in 2012 for voter turnout, with 58.1 percent. That was down from 28th place in 2008, and less than the 58.7 percent national turnout in 2012. The group found that voter turnout was 12 percentage points higher in states with Election Day registration. Kansas law cuts off voter registration 21 days before any election and, as of this year, requires proof of citizenship to register to vote. Worse, a ridiculous bill passed by the Kansas House this month and awaiting Senate consideration would bar people from switching parties after the candidate filing deadline of June 1 in advance of an August primary election. Proponents argue it would protect the integrity of each party from the undue influence of the other, but it would erode the right of voters to participate in the primary of their choice.
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