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United States District Court for the District of Kansas
June 18, 2018, Decided; June 18, 2018, Filed
Case No. 16-2105-JAR-JPO; Case No. 15-9300-JAR-JPO
[*1053] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
To register to vote, one must be a United States citizen. The Kansas legislature passed the Secure and Fair Elections ("SAFE") Act in 2011, which included a new requirement that Kansans must produce documentary proof of citizenship ("DPOC") when applying to register to vote. These cases were consolidated for trial because they both challenge the DPOC law as a method for enforcing the citizenship qualification. In Case No. 16-2105, the Fish Plaintiffs challenge the law as it applies to "motor voter" applicants—individuals who apply to register to vote at the same time they apply for or renew their driver's license online or at a Division of Motor Vehicles ("DOV") office. Plaintiffs include the Kansas League of Women Voters, as well as several Kansas residents who applied to register to vote when applying for a driver's license, but were denied voter registration for failure to submit DPOC. One claim remained for trial in that case alleging that under the Election Clause in Article 1 of the United States Constitution, the Kansas DPOC law [**5] is preempted by § 5 of the National Voter Registration Act ("NVRA"), which provides that voter registration applications may only require the minimum amount of information necessary for a State to determine applicants' eligibility to register to vote, and to perform its registration duties.
In Case No. 15-9300, Plaintiff Parker Bednasek challenges the DPOC law on constitutional grounds. His remaining claim for trial is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on a violation of the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.1 Mr. Bednasek's claim is not limited to motor-voter applicants.
The seven-day bench trial in these matters concluded on March 19, 2018. After hearing and carefully considering the evidence presented by the parties at trial, this Court first resolves the remaining motions by Plaintiffs to exclude expert testimony, and next issues its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law under Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a). As explained more fully below, the Court grants in part and denies in part the motion to exclude Dr. Steven Camarota, [*1054] and grants the motion to exclude Patrick McFerron. Under the test set forth by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that governs whether the DPOC law violates § 5 of the NVRA, the Court finds in favor of Plaintiffs in the Fish case. [**6] The Court further finds in favor of Plaintiff Bednasek on his constitutional challenge to the law. Declaratory and injunctive relief is granted in both matters as set forth in this opinion. Further, the Court imposes specific compliance measures given Defendant's history of non-compliance with this Court's orders. And, the Court imposes sanctions responsive to Defendant's repeated and flagrant violations of discovery and disclosure rules.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
309 F. Supp. 3d 1048 *; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101327 **; 2018 WL 3017768
STEVEN WAYNE FISH, et al., Plaintiffs, v. KRIS KOBACH, in his official capacity as Secretary of State for the State of Kansas, Defendant.
Subsequent History: Affirmed by Fish v. Schwab, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 13723 (10th Cir. Kan., Apr. 29, 2020)
Prior History: Cromwell v. Kobach, 199 F. Supp. 3d 1292, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99850 (D. Kan., July 29, 2016)Fish v. Kobach, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29628 (D. Kan., Mar. 8, 2016)
noncitizen, registration, register to vote, voter registration, voter, election, registered, estimate, citizenship, suspense, canceled, voting, driver's license, documents, preliminary injunction, statistical, attestation, records, training, suspended, eligible, notice, cases, birth certificate, updated, numbers, matching, rolls, methodology, effective
Evidence, Admissibility, Expert Witnesses, Daubert Standard, Statements as Evidence, Hearsay, Rule Components, Governments, State & Territorial Governments, Elections, Civil Procedure, Preliminary Considerations, Justiciability, Mootness, Constitutional Law, The Judiciary, Case or Controversy, Civil Rights Law, Protection of Rights, Voting Rights, Registration, Enforcement Actions, Equal Protection, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Discovery & Disclosure, Disclosure, Mandatory Disclosures, Sanctions