Topeka A special task force created by Secretary of State Kris Kobach has finished writing 15 pages of regulations detailing how the new Kansas voter identification laws will be implemented next year by county poll workers.
Kobach said Tuesday that the work of the 17-member group outlines how county election officials will require voters to show valid forms of identification when registering to vote and requesting ballots during election. The laws were approved by legislators and signed by Gov. Sam Brownback in the spring.
Kobach, a conservative Republican who is known nationally for his work on immigration reforms laws, said the regulations represent the work of “the collective experience” of elections officers from across Kansas.
“I’m very pleased with these regulations. We have already shared these proposed regulations with one state that is also implementing photo identification,” Kobach said.
The law requires that, starting in 2013, people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas must show proof of citizenship. Kobach wants to push that date to March 2012 so that it can be in place for the upcoming presidential primary and election. That would require legislative approval. Critics of the new laws have said that the restrictions will suppress voter turnout, particularly among minorities.
Kobach defends the laws, saying they make Kansas elections secure by minimizing the possibility of voter fraud, a major theme of his 2010 election campaign.
Kobach’s office will publish a notice in this week’s edition of the Kansas Register, the state’s official legal publication, to give notice of a January hearing on the regulations. The public can comment on them in the weeks leading up to the hearing.
The task force also developed the policies and procedures that election officials and poll workers will use on election day and when people register to vote. For example, the rules will tell election workers what to do when photos on people’s IDs look nothing like them.
In that instance, a voter would be allowed to cast a ballot if the date of birth on the identification matches the poll records, the voter submits another form of photo identification or an election worker has knowledge that the person in the photograph is indeed the person seeking to vote.
Kobach said the task force has also found areas where efficiencies and uniform practices can be implemented, such as common forms or envelopes used by all 105 counties for election purposes.