- Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Republicans and Democrats are preparing for March 5 presidential caucuses amid questions about voter registration rules and with several thousand potential voters who have tried to register unable to cast a ballot in the 2016 elections because they haven’t provided proof of citizenship.

Participation rules for the party caucuses differ significantly from each other, and from voting at the polls later this year, because the parties themselves set the rules. The Kansas secretary of state’s office has no say in how the state parties set up the process for choosing their presidential nominee.

Kansas Republicans cannot vote in their party caucus unless they were registered to vote by Feb. 4. Republican caucus goers must also show government issued identification such as a driver’s license and can expect to have their voter registration as Republicans verified.

Democrats can register to vote when they show up March 5 at their caucus site. Registered voters can also change their party affiliation to Democrat that day. Voter ID is not required. The party advises those who plan to register to vote for the first time in Kansas that day to bring proof of citizenship, but for those who show up without that paperwork the Kansas Democratic Party won’t require citizenship documents to vote in the caucus.

Here are some answers to other questions about the state of voting rights in Kansas and the upcoming caucuses:

Q: How many people are registered to vote in Kansas for each party?

A: As of Friday, there were more than 1.72 million registered voters statewide. Republicans comprise the biggest share with 44 percent, followed by unaffiliated voters with 31 percent. Nearly 24 percent are registered as Democrats and 0.7 percent as Libertarian.

Q: What is the voter registration “suspense” list?

A: The voter registration applications of people who don’t provide proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, are put on hold because they are considered incomplete registrations under Kansas law. If the necessary documents aren’t provided within 90 days, those registrations are thrown out and people need to fill out a new registration form.

Q: How many voter registrations remain on the suspense list in Kansas?

A: As of Friday, 10,546 Kansas residents had their voter registrations on hold because they are incomplete.

Q: How many voter registrations have been thrown out since the 90-day rule went into effect late last year in Kansas?

A: That is unclear. The Kansas secretary of state’s office could not immediately provide a requested count Friday on how many voter registration forms have been discarded, but more than 35,000 registrations were in suspense when the 90-day rule went into effect.

Q: Does Kansas still have a dual-voter registration system in place that keeps people who registered with the federal form without providing citizenship proof from voting for state and local races in the 2016 elections?

A: No. The executive director of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission recently changed the state-specific rules for Kansas, and now both the state and federal voter registration forms require proof of citizenship. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says that eliminated the need for a dual system since both now require the citizenship documents to register to vote in Kansas. But the commission’s administrative action is expected to be challenged, so that may change.

Q: How many delegates are at stake for each party in the March 5 caucuses in Kansas?

A: The Republican Party has 40 delegates up for grabs, while the Democratic Party has 37. To win the GOP presidential nomination, a candidate must have at least 1,237 of the 2,472 delegates. To win the Democratic presidential nomination, a candidate must get 2,382 of the 4,763 delegates.

Q: Where can I find the locations of my party’s caucus?

A: Kansas Republicans can find their caucus locations and other information at their party’s website at www.ksgop.org . The information for Kansas Democrats is on their website at www.ksdp.org .

Q: When are the 2016 elections in Kansas?

A: Kansas holds its primary election for state offices Aug. 2 and the general election is Nov. 8.

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