Archive for Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kansas Senate advances voter ID proposals

March 22, 2011, 5:15 p.m. Updated March 23, 2011, 12:51 a.m.


— Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s proposal to require Kansas voters to show photo identification at the polls won first-round approval Tuesday in the state Senate, although other aspects of his plan to eliminate voter fraud were left out.

Senators advanced the measure on a voice vote and plan to take final action today. It still includes Kobach’s proposal to require people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to produce a passport, birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, but senators would delay the rule until 2013, instead of starting it next year, as Kobach wants.

The Senate’s version of the bill also omits proposals from Kobach to increase penalties for election crimes and to give the secretary of state’s office the authority to file and prosecute voter fraud cases in state courts. The House’s version of the bill contains those provisions.

Still, Kobach said he’s pleased by the Senate’s action. Negotiators will have to resolve the two chambers’ differences, and a key senator said the work is likely to move the final version back toward what Kobach prefers, particularly on the proof-of-citizenship requirement.

“Kansas is one step closer to having the most secure elections in America,” Kobach said.

Kobach, a Republican, won last year’s election with 59 percent of the vote after making election fraud the key issue of his campaign. But he’s long faced skepticism that significant election fraud occurs in Kansas, and Democrats argue that his proposals will suppress turnout and decrease the number of registered voters.

“This is an onerous piece of legislation,” said Sen. David Haley, a Kansas City Democrat. “Creating that extra hurdle and that extra burden is absolutely wrong.”

The bill would make Kansas the 10th state with a requirement that voters show photo ID at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But Kobach contends Kansas would be ahead of all other states if it combines that requirement with a proof-of-citizenship rule and the other measures he proposed.

A Senate committee voted to delay the proof-of-citizenship requirement until 2013 to give the state time to conduct an educational campaign. Kobach opposed the move, and Senate Ethics and Elections Committee Chairwoman Terrie Huntington, of Fairway, told fellow GOP senators in a caucus Tuesday that she’ll work to eliminate the delay in negotiations with the House.

Kobach said after the Senate’s debate that it’s “outrageous” to claim that the bill will suppress turnout or voter registration because, “It suggests an ill intent.”

Backers of the bill said it includes provisions to prevent either from happening. For example, it requires the state to provide free non-driver IDs and allows people to bring a photo ID or documents proving their citizenship to election officials after they’ve gone to the polls or filled out a voter registration form.

Kobach released a study in January that said the secretary of state’s office has received 59 reports of alleged irregularities involving at least 221 ballots since 1997 — twice as many as documented by an internal report three years ago. The alleged irregularities don’t represent proven cases of voter fraud and are based on sometimes vague reports of wrongdoing.


Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

You have to present a photo ID to prove that you're qualified to drive on a public road already if you are asked to produce such.

What's the big deal?

sulliedotcom 7 years ago

I agree. I don't understand why this is an issue. Require an ID, don't require an ID, I don't care. Just figure it out and get on with it.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years ago

Will this program cost money? - YES Does this proposal feed paranoia? - YES Can this program make a statistically significant difference? - NO

More government...NOW! Oops, I mean "NO!"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"“Kansas is one step closer to having the most secure elections in America,” Kobach said."

They already are secure. What he really means is that this vote-suppression measure will make it easier to manipulate elections with other vote-suppression techniques in the Republican quiver.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

i got ID'd @ a strip club.....i heard a rumor that kansas will be the first state in the union to bar code its citizens..and the ones who do not have these will be hunted down by helicopter and shot on site....then fined for littering....

Jake Esau 7 years ago

As long as there's a way to get a free ID that can be used to vote (which it looks like the bill requires that), I don't see what the problem is here. That being said, somehow I get the feeling that Kansas is not a hotbed of voter fraud.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

I applied for and received a voter registration card at the courthouse. I don't recall having to pay any money to get it.

somedude20 7 years ago

That, sadly, will not count as you will need a picture id. Happy your card was free

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

Larzia, seriously, how many people do not have an I.D.? Most who don't do not wish to have one. Homeless for instance who are or have been on government assistance programs.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

You can't get government assistance programs without proper identification. But your social worker will assist you in obtaining whatever it is that you need.

beatrice 7 years ago

So if someone doesn't wish to have an ID, does this mean they should be stripped of their Constitutional Rights? Should we require people to show their ID before they attempt to practice free speech?

beatrice 7 years ago

So if someone is robbed of their wallet a few days before the election, tough luck? That doesn't seem proper. How will this work with mail-in ballots? How will someone show their ID if they mail in their vote? That gives preferential treatment to a certain class or type of voter, does it not?

I can appreciate why people would want to see an ID, I just can't help but to view it as a stripping away of our rights.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

just fraudulent politicians..with BIG money behind them..."Kochi$im" just a couple of rich kids whose father ignored them as they were growing up..they problably were never Eagle Scouts.....LoL!

TimW 7 years ago

The reason showing ID is a problem is answered in your very own first sentence: Voting is a RIGHT. When you start to impose conditions upon that right it ceases to be a RIGHT and becomes a PRIVILEGE.

Sure, it'll be a problem for illegals (for which no evidence exists that they even bother to try and vote) but it'll also be a problem for a not-so-insignificant number of legal voters. I'll bet the number of hard-working legal American's without government issued photo ID is bigger than you think.

Even if the state issues a free ID for everyone, how many people will decide that going through the red tape to obtain one is too much of a hassle to be worth it?

The state might issue you a free ID, but if I'm registering for the first time in this state and don't have a passport/birth certificate on hand are they going to set up a program to re-imburse the voter for the cost associated with obtaining proper proof of citizenship? What's it cost to get an out-of-state birth certificate anyway? I know it's not free. Maybe somebody can't foot the $35 it'll cost to prove they were born in the good old U S of A and they don't get to vote. Maybe somebody moves to Kansas, doesn't know the law because they don't have anything similar in their previous state. They apply to have a copy of their BC sent and are told that it's a 6-8 week lead time and they can't vote in the election that's 4 weeks away.

Look, this shouldn't be a big deal, but it is. It MAY keep voter fraud from happening, but it WILL keep legitimate votes away (small though that number may be) and that to me is unacceptable.

TimW 7 years ago

"Read the whole sentence. Voting is a right for u.s. citizens . The only condition is one that you be a US citizen."

Agreed, is there any evidence of foreign citizens taking part in our elections, whether in Kansas or elsewhere?

The second we throw up barriers or obstacles to our allowing our citizens to exercise their franchise then voting ceases to be a right to US citizens, but becomes a right only for SOME US citizens. Even if that "some" encompasses 99.999% of US citizens, the exclusion of that 0.001% is a problem.

A problem created by this "solution" that is looking for a problem.

beatrice 7 years ago

As any underage college student can attest, getting a fake ID isn't that difficult. This isn't about stopping voter fraud, it is about stopping a certain type or class of voter. Live the American Dream, or you don't qualify.

beatrice 7 years ago

If the legislators didn't show their IDs before voting, can this now be ruled voter fraud? Can they be arrested?

tomatogrower 7 years ago

Thank goodness. Once we get rid of all this voter fraud, these Republicans won't keep getting elected.

Bob Burton 7 years ago


Voting is a privilege as I think there is a age requirement.. Also you will soon have to show a birth certificate to get a drivers license the first time.. I believe this came down from the feds to all states & territories..

TimW 7 years ago

You might be thinking of the REALID act, which may, or may not, have lost a little bit of steam since 34 of the 50 states (KS not among them) have either passed or introduced legislation to block its implementation in the few years since it has passed.

beatrice 7 years ago

Voting is a right, driving is a privilege.

TimW 7 years ago

and isn't this the biggest issue with the legislation?

Whether or not you think it's good law or not is irrelevant as this WILL cost the taxpayers money. In the form of increased paperwork and bureaucracy, in the form of a free ID program, and possibly most significantly in the form of defense from legal challenge.

If the legislators didn't take future court costs into consideration when weighing the costs/benefits/necessity of the legislation then they didn't do their due diligence.

If they honestly think the current and future cost is/will be worth it then that's one thing...but I'd really have to question that assertion.

How much will this bill cost in the end? Probably more than needs to be spent on it. What will problem will this bill solve? Voter fraud is miniscule and would the cases of voter fraud on the books even have been prevented by this law (honestly, I don't know)?

So, a state that's crying poor will in the end probably expend thousands upon thousands of taxpayer dollars to combat a problem that DOES NOT EXIST. That issue, to me, is bigger than whether or not this constitutes good law.

Bob Burton 7 years ago

TimW, Your are right on, I believe Kansas has put that in to play.. Ask a new driver if they had to show a birth certificate to get a license.. If you are "older than dirt" you may not have to show a birth certificate..

beatrice, Go find a 10 year old male or female & have them vote.. Then get back with me..

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