The 2014 Kansas legislative session is underway, and on the first day, two lawmakers introduced bills that would reduce a backlog of voter registrations.
Nearly 20,000 registrations are on hold in Kansas because of a new law that took effect last year requiring people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to provide documents proving their U.S. citizenship.
The bills that have been introduced would allow people registering to instead sign an affidavit swearing they're a U.S. citizen. Lying on the form would be a felony.
Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach pushed the document requirement as a way to prevent voter fraud. Representative Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, is pursuing the change. He says the current law is affecting people who are U.S. citizens.
"No sane person in Kansas believes that there are 20,000 cases of voter fraud. The law is too broad and it affects too many people," says Ward.
Ward and Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, also a Wichita Republican, are proposing the change. They introduced similar bills during a special session last year, but they didn't get much traction.