The Wichita Eagle File photo
The Wichita Eagle File photo

Kirk Seminoff's Pivot Point

Community engagement editor Kirk Seminoff blogs about news and issues in Wichita and Kansas.

Pivot Point

Making it easier and harder to vote

By Kirk Seminoff

September 11, 2017 04:56 PM

Four days after a voting-rights expert in Wichita said same-day registration is a boon to voter turnout, President Donald Trump’s commission looking at election integrity will hear a proposal that would require citizens have a background check before being registered to vote.

Doesn’t seem like both of those could happen, does it?

Could the issue be more polarizing? On one side, same-day registration advocates wouldn’t require a citizen to register, theoretically, until minutes remained before the polls closed. On the other side, advocates for background checks would require a would-be voter to start the registration process weeks before election day.

Both seem like long shots in Kansas. Already in place are requirements to prove citizenship before a resident can register to vote, making same-day registration nearly impossible even though 16 states and the District of Columbia have it.

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Background checks would be seen by voter-suppression critics as another way to discourage residents from making an effort to register.