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Archive for Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kansas Senate approves its version of bill requiring voters to show photo ID

March 23, 2011, 2:43 p.m. Updated March 23, 2011, 4:05 p.m.

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach discusses election fraud issues during a state Senate Ethics and Elections Committee meeting, Thursday, March 17, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka. Kobach is pushing proposals to require voters to show photo identification at the polls and to require people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to prove they're citizens.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach discusses election fraud issues during a state Senate Ethics and Elections Committee meeting, Thursday, March 17, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka. Kobach is pushing proposals to require voters to show photo identification at the polls and to require people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to prove they're citizens.

State Sens. David Haley, left, of Kansas City; Kelly Kultala, center, of Kansas City; and Oletha Faust-Goudeau, right, of Wichita, all Democrats, confer during a Senate debate on an election fraud bill Tuesday, March 22, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, is pushing legislation to require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

State Sens. David Haley, left, of Kansas City; Kelly Kultala, center, of Kansas City; and Oletha Faust-Goudeau, right, of Wichita, all Democrats, confer during a Senate debate on an election fraud bill Tuesday, March 22, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, is pushing legislation to require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

— Kansas is all but certain to start requiring its voters to show photo identification at the polls next year, but a vote Wednesday in the state Senate raised questions about how other election fraud proposals from Secretary of State Kris Kobach will fare.

The Senate passed, 36-3, a bill that includes Kobach’s photo ID proposal. The measure also includes his plan to require people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to show election officials a birth certificate, passport or other proof of citizenship but delays the rule until 2013, a year later than Kobach wanted.

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 election fraud cases in state courts.

The House’s version of the bill, approved last month, follows what Kobach wants, and negotiators for the two chambers are expected to draft the final version. Many Democrats have complained that the GOP secretary of state’s proposals would suppress voter turnout and decrease voter registration numbers, but Republicans hold large majorities in both chambers and argue that Kansans want elections to be more secure.

“It’s going to be a hybrid of what the Senate did and what Kobach wanted,” said House Elections Committee Chairman Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican who will be his chamber’s lead negotiator. “Kris got elected by an overwhelming majority, and it was on that issue.”

But senators said delaying the proof-of-citizenship requirement for a year will give the state more time to educate people.

They also said the delay would allow the Department of Revenue to get a planned system for scanning citizenship documents of people seeking driver’s licenses up and running, so the documents can be provided electronically to election officials. The department already had been planning to put the system in place because of a federal law designed to crack down on illegal immigration.

During a caucus meeting Tuesday, Senate Ethics and Elections Committee Chairwoman Terrie Huntington, of Fairway, told fellow GOP senators that the proposed delay could be eliminated during negotiations with the House. She was less sure Wednesday, saying the outcome could depend on how quickly the Department of Revenue’s system is ready.

And Sen. John Vratil, a Leawood Republican, said: “There will be some negotiations, but I think the Senate is pretty firm.”

The bill would make Kansas the 10th state to require voters to show photo ID at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 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.

Kobach 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 from critics who question just how significant an issue election fraud is in Kansas.

He 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.

Critics contend many perceived irregularities boil down to mistakes by prospective voters and even election officials themselves, not deliberate fraud. Haley said the new voter ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements are most likely to affect poor, minority and elderly voters.

“This chilling effect on our democracy is unnecessary,” Sen. David Haley, a Kansas City Democrat, said in explaining his vote against the Senate version Wednesday.

Comments

consumer1 3 years, 5 months ago

What follows will be the liberal left whining and name calling everyone who disagrees with their opinions. Just watch and see how many names I get called for just writing this.

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Keith 3 years, 5 months ago

You know, back in the day typing 'first' was considered enough.

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Steve Bunch 3 years, 5 months ago

The only fraud committed on the electorate was Kobach himself.

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pittstatebb 3 years, 5 months ago

What follows will be a lawsuit defended by public dollars and most probably funded by public dollars.

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Majestic42 3 years, 4 months ago

How on EARTH is this racist? I find it offensive that you would even bring that UP.

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maxcrabb 3 years, 5 months ago

Someday, Kansas will realize voting for the right has gotten them jack diddly.

...someday.

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md 3 years, 5 months ago

How in the whole wide world could people be against this? Are you people hammerd or brain washed or what? This obviously the right thing to do.

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Laura Wilson 3 years, 5 months ago

This isn't about keeping illegal immigrants from voting because they're NOT. It's a poll tax. Until they offer universal FREE IDs and birth certificates, you'll have to pay to vote. It's against the law. I will fully support any challenge to this. I hope there are protests at every polling site, I'll join in.

If I had to register to vote after this bill passes, I have no clue where my birth certificate is. I asked my parents and they don't know either. I'd have to pay to get a new one. I can afford it but not everyone can and a lot of people will see this as a hassle and just not vote.

The US already has a dismal voting turn out. This is just going to make it worse.

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poto63 3 years, 5 months ago

If I understand all who are not in favor of this legislation ... we shouldn't have to show proof of citizenship and thus the legal right to vote?

So, even legal residents who are not citizens should be able to vote even though during immigration it is clearly communicated that the right to vote is not a granted to all who are not citizens?

Sweet, I should send my spouse down to register so we can vote more republicans and tea party members into office!

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madameX 3 years, 5 months ago

You already have to provide either a social security number or a naturalization number when you register. If the state can't be bothered to verify that those are real with the feds before approving a registration application the I see no reason why residents, most of whom are registering perfectly legally, should carry the burden of proving that they are citizens.

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poto63 3 years, 5 months ago

When society rails against any kind of moral structure which encourages honesty / integrity, it shouldn't be shocking if--as in this instance--voters become forced to carry the burden of proof of the same.

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madameX 3 years, 5 months ago

Huh? I honestly have no clue what you're driving at.

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poto63 3 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, I was referring your stating that there is no reason why those who are registered legally should be made to carry the burden of proof. I agree, but unfortunately many end up being penalized for the duplicity of a few.

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frankwiles 3 years, 5 months ago

59 reports of "alleged irregularities" in 14 years. Is this really what we should be spending time on? 221 possibly incorrect votes in a state of 2 million people over a 14 year period. I think we should also have a huge State House investigation into Larry, the capital janitor, who sometimes takes a nap on the job and always forgets the trash in that one office. Seems equally important.

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sunny 3 years, 5 months ago

...and everyone living off the Government teet should not be allowed to vote. That would do away with the Democrat voters! GO KOBACH!

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deec 3 years, 5 months ago

Then you've eliminated 2/3 of farmers, and anyone who works for a corporation that gets government subsidies or contracts. And federal, state and local employees.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 4 months ago

2/3 of farmers? I would think it would be 100% with all the protections they get. And are extension offices who help farmers government run? Oh and sunny, that street your drive on is paid for by the government. Guess you'd lose your right to vote too.

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Jimo 3 years, 5 months ago

How many jobs does this create? None.

What's the GOP plan for jobs? We were told for years if we just slashed taxes and regulations and kept enough lefties from voting and banned gays and abortion and flag-burning, billionaires (or at least their money) would flock to Kansas. Just how many generations was this outcome supposed to take again?

Kansas. Chief Exports: wheat, cattle, educated people.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, the people who issue state id's will be have job security, and the office who handles sending out birth certificates for those who have misplaced theirs will be busy. Of course they will be working harder for less money, so you probably aren't going to get your birth certificate very fast.

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ivalueamerica 3 years, 4 months ago

I am so sick of the GOP NAZI style of big government with jackbooted thugs now running the streets demanding to see our paperzzz.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 4 months ago

It's a good thing that the 95 year-old vet in this story doesn't live in Kansas. Kobach would have him arrested.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/03/23/dnt.man.may.not.be.citizen.KOMO?hpt=T2

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