Johnson County is offering a federal voter registration form one day before deadline

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -

The Johnson County Election Office started offering federal voter registration forms by request on Monday, one day before the deadline to register for the November presidential election.

Election commissioner Ronnie Metsker says for over 12 years, they have never provided the federal form for voters. He explained why.

"No one ever asked for it and actually to use this form made it so that the voter could only vote for federal office. They could not vote for any state or local offices," Metsker said.

That's because under Kansas state law, voters are required to show proof of citizenship, until an injunction just before the August primary.

Read updates and changes to state law in regard to proof of citizenship.

"So it would actually have been a disservice to the voter to use it," Metsker added.

Doug Bonney, legal director of the ACLU of Kansas said, "Well I'm not surprised but the federal law, the National Voter Registration Act, requires voter registration offices and other public offices have the federal voter registration form available. To say that well we didn't give it because we thought the Kansas one was better is just ignoring federal law."

Bonney also believes, "If you surveyed all 105 counties you'd probably find that the vast majority of them weren't providing access to the federal form."

Johnson County set an all-time record for registered voters this week with more than 400,000 on the roll. Metsker wants the confusion cleared up because he says, "Our mantra here is taking great pains to do what is right, so if the rules state that we need to provide this we will. We did not do this intentionally, that's for certain."

Until midnight on Tuesday, October 18 people in Johnson County can still register to vote. Send a copy of your completed federal or state voter registration form:
  • by fax to: 913-791-1753
  • by email to: registration@jocoelection.org
  • by text to: 913-953-9539

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