Archive for Sunday, August 5, 2012

Voter ID questions continue

August 5, 2012


Topeka — A group opposed to the state law that requires Kansans to show a government-issued photo ID to vote will have volunteers at some polls Tuesday to see whether any voters are being deprived of their right to vote.

“This law was pushed forward without thinking things through,” said Louis Goseland, coordinator for the KanVote campaign.

On Tuesday, voters across the state will participate in Republican and Democratic party primaries.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach pushed the photo ID requirement through the Legislature, saying it was needed to protect against voter fraud. Critics say that incidents of voter fraud are almost nonexistent in Kansas and that the ID requirement will disenfranchise some elderly and minority voters who don’t have a photo ID.

There have been several local elections in Kansas since the photo requirement took effect at the start of the year. But this is the first statewide test.

Registered voters in Kansas who don’t have a photo ID can get a free one from the Division of Motor Vehicles if they have proof of identity and residence.

But a recent report cited problems. For instance, in downtown Wichita there is only one office to serve 160,700 eligible voters, which is eight times the customer base of the average office statewide.

In addition, 7,373 voting-age Kansans have no vehicle and live more than 10 miles from offices where they can get state-issued IDs, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

So far, the state has issued 32 free nondriver IDs, Kobach said. Douglas County has become the first county in the state to issue its own IDs for the purpose of voting.

The county has issued six of these, Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said.

One elderly couple got the IDs, saying it was easier to walk to the Courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts streets, than try to catch a bus to go to the Division of Motor Vehicles, 1035 N. Third St. in North Lawrence, to get the state ID, Shew said.

Shew said he believes most people are aware that a photo ID is required to vote, but some are confused about what forms of ID are acceptable.

The state website lists the valid photo IDs:

l A driver’s license or nondriver’s identification card issued by Kansas or by another state or district of the United States

l A concealed carry of handgun license issued by Kansas or a concealed carry of handgun or weapon license issued by another state or district of the United States.

l A United States passport.

l An employee badge or identification document issued by a municipal, county, state or federal government office.

l A military identification document issued by the United States.

l A student identification card issued by an accredited postsecondary institution of education in the state of Kansas.

l A public assistance identification card issued by a municipal, county, state or federal government office.

l An identification card issued by an Indian tribe.

Shew said some voters also are concerned over whether their current address has to match what is on the ID, or whether their ID will be accepted if they look different now from the photo.

Kobach has said pollworkers have been trained to allow for differences in appearance between the voter and the voter’s photo ID. A person’s current address does not have to match what is on the ID, Shew said.

Kobach said he doubted many voters would not have ID, but he said for those who don’t, they can still cast a provisional ballot and get the ID within the next few days to have their votes count.

But Ernestine Krehbiel of Wichita, president of the League of Women Voters, said some elderly and low-income Kansans would be unable to get the necessary documents together in time to get the state-issued ID. She said she spoke about this at a forum in March with Kobach, and Kobach held up his smartphone and said he could retrieve documents with the device.

Krehbiel said most elderly Kansans don’t have smartphones.


Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 7 months ago

Kansas photo ID law risks stripping voters of their rights

Tuesday’s primary election is the first major run for Kansas’ unnecessary and restrictive photo ID requirement.

Certainly everyone favors a clean election decided by legally eligible voters. Kansas voters already swear when they sign the voting books that they are in fact who they claim to be and legally registered, punishable by law if it is not so.

But the new photo ID law implies that fraud is significant, and somehow a photo ID will stop the illegal mass of voters taking advantage of America’s great democracy.

The worriers should rest. Kansas U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom reports no rush of voter fraud allegations since Kris Kobach took over the Secretary of State’s office, bringing his fear campaign with him. The only two problem voting cases forwarded to the U.S. Attorney in the last two years were initially brought by the previous Democratic secretary of state. Neither actually constituted voter fraud.

Read more here:

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

A recent survey indicated that one third of eligible voters could not name all three branches of government while another third could not name even one. I'm not at all surprised that some are confused about ID requirements. They are probably equally surprised at the level of difficulty when walking and chewing gum at the same time.

Are we really sure we want to increase voter participation? (asked in jest, I think)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Hell, let's just cancel elections altogether-- after all, most voters aren't going to check with you to see how they ought to vote, which means they are full-out idiots, right?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Does it not concern you that so few take the time and effort to be aware of our form of government? Does it not concern you that only 16% voted in our last local election while the Sec. of State expects turnout tomorrow to be only 18%?

If someone were to tell me that they voted by going eenie meenie miney mo, that would concern me. I had a person once tell me they voted yes on all odd numbered propositions and they voted no on all even numbered propositions. (This was in California, where numerous propositions happen at every election). It would concern me if someone went to the polls thinking that Romney for president meant George Romney. It would concern me if someone went to the polls believing that Obama was some Islamic Manchurian Candidate. And it would concern me if someone shows up at the polls and says "ID? What ID? I didn't know we needed an ID?"

I said nothing about canceling elections. I do have concerns, though. Even in Bozoland, I'm entitled to have them, aren't I?

verity 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree with you jhawkinsf. We are pitiful when it comes to our voting record and people too often are amazingly uneducated regarding what they are voting on.

So I present this idea. Since there really has been little evidence of voting fraud, except when it had to do with Diebold voting machines, would it not be better to spend the effort and money we have spent on photo ID educating people and encouraging them in their civic duty to be educated voters?

I am also of the opinion that everybody should be required to take a class in economics before they can graduate from high school.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Ooh, good point. Let's enact literacy tests.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Or on the opposite end of the absurd spectrum, we could compel voting by the severe and profound developmentally disabled. They too, have a right to vote.

csun 5 years, 7 months ago

Australia has incentives to vote and they have a 97% voter turnout. A vast majority of their voters are highly informed, since They Vote!

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I believe it's mandatory to vote in Australia.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Anyone who is "severely and profoundly developmentally disabled" yet still able to express an interest in voting and legally eligible to do so deserves the chance the same as the little old lady in the nursing home who doesn't leave but once a year. The governor's policies will affect the developmentally disabled a lot more than they'll affect you or me.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, but the numbers of severe and profoundly developmentally disabled who express the desire to vote would equal, what? Care to guess? Well, here's my guess. It's the same number of illegal aliens trying to vote. And what number is that? It's the same as those who are being denied their right to vote today because of the ID requirement. And that number is?

Exceedingly small.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Another claim without any citations. A friend of mine just posted a picture of her developmentally delayed child voting today for the very first time. I'm really not in the mood for you to demonize another group of marginalized voters today.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I didn't make a claim, I made a guess. And I said so clearly.

I'm happy for your friend's child. But as we all know, levels of developmental disabilities vary greatly. Does the child understand what they are doing, is the child just following the instructions of the parent? I doubt either of us knows the answer to that question. Or is this a case of the parent essentially getting two votes, while the rest of us get one? Again, I doubt either of us has the answer.

I've worked with adults with developmental disabilities. Some are high functioning, while others will never understand even the most simple concepts. In regards to that latter group, it stretches logic to the breaking point to characterize that group as marginalized voters. They do not understand the concept of voting and never will. It may be a sad truth, but it is the truth. That's not demonizing, it's reality.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Ah yes. The argument I expected. To my ears it goes thusly Oh, I didn't mean your friend's daughter. I meant that other hypothetical disabled person I'm imagining in my mind, and I'll keep adding severe and profound and other adjectives until I've made a hypothetical vegetable you'll have to concede is a non-person and non-citizen.

Oh, and then you're going to go there with the whole parent told the other person what to think. You know what? Fox News gets an awful lot of votes by that argument, and they're by people society has theoretically labeled as of average intelligence. Nursing homes are full of people that are probably guided by their kids or caregivers, and spouses are certainly getting lots of votes from partners that don't hold a strong opinion in either direction. Who cares? Voting is a right. If that person is legally entitled to that right, they're entitled to it. You don't get to deem them worthy. You don't get to make a value judgement about their capabilities or worthiness just because they don't live the life you'd choose for yourself. That goes for the poor people you claim you worked with, and that goes for the DD people you claim you worked with. The "compelling them to vote" argument was a cheap shot and jerk move.

Since you seem to think your Internet claim of expertise has merit, I'll let you know I've got expertise in this issue. Probably more than you do. That there is a bear trap. You've been warned.

There are plenty of people who were to all outward appearances incapable of high functioning and would be institutionalized and marginalized until it became apparent that they were much more than they seemed. Hellen Keller was thought to be an idiot who needed to be institutionalized until she was taught to speak. Carly's Voice is a recent example of someone who was thought to be severely cognitively disabled, but by no means alone. Yes, I realize that parents have also been duped into believing such a thing was happening with "facilitated communication," but that can be tested.

Do people who are truly unable to function beyond very basic levels exist? Sure they do. But, like I said, you don't get to make the decision which is which, and you don't get to pile on adjectives until you've gone from "Adult with Down Syndrome who sacks groceries part time but lives in a group home" to "Person at KNI incapable of any level of self care" just to make points in your argument. Show some respect for the people you claim you worked with.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Chootspa, I sadly take note that you've taken a page out of Bozo's writing style. You and she both throw out these little nuggets, little catchphrases and then pretend that the other person actually said it. You mentioned literacy tests. I said no such thing. Bozo, above, mentions canceling the election. I said no such thing. Bozo mentions voters consulting me. I said no such thing. Bozo mentions full blown idiots. I said no such thing.

I've asked Bozo not to put words in my mouth. She has declined. Rude though it might be, it is her right. I'll now ask the same of you.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

I didn't pretend you said anything. I responded sarcastically. Apparently you're allowed to "ask in jest - I think" but nobody else is? Must be a very fancy spot you occupy in forum land.

You concern trolled with the idea that setting barriers to voting was a good thing because our citizenry was so painfully ignorant due to some survey or other that you read at some point. The extreme end of that would be to intentionally set up barriers to voting in order to weed out these voters you've deemed unworthy of the privilege. We've done that historically. If you're uncomfortable with the reminder, you might want to think long and hard about why that is instead of attacking the messenger.

jaywalker 5 years, 7 months ago

"7,373 voting-age Kansans have no vehicle and live more than 10 miles from offices where they can get state-issued IDs"

Can't get to the ID's so how they getting to the polls?

progressive_thinker 5 years, 7 months ago

In the absence of the voter ID law, this could easily have been resolved by an advanced ballot application.

Even if someone did not apply for an advanced ballot, there are far more polling stations than there are driving licence/ID stations.

verity 5 years, 7 months ago

In my experience, polls are usually much closer than ten miles. I generally walk to my voting place.

csun 5 years, 7 months ago

You can't vote without an ID, so why would they go to the polling places?

classclown 5 years, 7 months ago

I would not at all be surprised to hear about a few people (especially from here) intentionally forgetting their IDs in the hope of being able to raise a big stink.

Furthermore, I would not be surprised if a certain reporter from this very news establishment just happened to be right on the scene to report on it.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree with you. In fact, I made the same prediction on another thread just a couple of days ago.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

You apparently chose one of the ID options that costs money rather than one of the free options. Once inside the voting booth, you will have even more choices to make.

voevoda 5 years, 7 months ago

Persons who were born outside the state of Kansas have a difficult time obtaining a birth certificate. In order to get a birth certificate by mail from some states, one must already have a photo ID with a valid current address. In effect, those individuals are permanently disenfranchised in Kansas. There's no question that the current ID law severely inconveniences a sizable number of potential voters. Only 26 people out of thousands have availed themselves of the "free" voter ID system Kobach brags about (omitting the 6 who used Jamie Shew's new county system): that tells us that the obstacles to obtaining the ID are very great. Too great.

Laura Wilson 5 years, 7 months ago

I really don't get the point of making us show IDs to prove we're Lawrence citizens if the address on it doesn't have to match your current one! Just what are they trying to prove?

This whole thing is a stupid waste of time and money. I'll be voting but doing so under protest.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 7 months ago

You should have to show a photo ID every time you cash your welfare check.

csun 5 years, 7 months ago

Why not show an ID when you comment. Just have it, scan it, email it, have it verified by the LJWorld, etc. It's not so easy, is it.

Maddy Griffin 5 years, 7 months ago

There's no longer any such thing as a "welfare check". It all comes on a debit card now.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 7 months ago

But this was the whole point of Kobach's attacks on voters, to confuse and eliminate any voters who might vote for a demonrat, Is thwere anyone who does not see this agenda??

tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

"So far, the state has issued 32 free nondriver IDs."

It looks like we have 32 examples of folks being able to get the ID needed to vote, so is it still reasonable to argue that minorities, the poor, students and senior citizens, etc., somehow lack the ability to obtain an ID for voting purposes? I would ask where is the evidence of this? Looks like 32 people have been able to figure it out so far. Whats stopping the rest of the disenfranchised masses from franchising themselves? I don’t think there are any “masses” to begin with. The whole argument against the voter ID law was a Red Herring from the start. The fact 32 people showed up to get a State-issued ID is made news-worthy only by its insignificance.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Since we have no way of knowing how many people are still without valid ID, there's no way to evaluate the 32 free ID's given.

tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

Evaluate the demand on the system. 32 isn't a statistically significant number of the electorate. Consider as well the expenditure of effort. Given all the flap about this, I’m sure someone is measuring how many people are being turned away from the poles today for lack of a proper ID. That will come out in the days ahead and will also be a statistically insignificant number.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, 32 is a small number.

But, since we have no way of knowing how many people need the ID's, and haven't gotten them, it doesn't mean much.

If we really wanted to figure out what effect this sort of thing has, we'd have to do much more work, and it might not even be possible to do. We'd have to know how many people just stayed home and didn't vote, or try to get an ID.

I don't see any way of finding that out easily, if at all.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

If the Sec. of State's prediction for turnout is correct at 18%, that means 82% of eligible voters decided not to vote. That's a sad state of affairs. Of course, in the pre-ID required days, the turnout was just as bad. So I'm not certain the ID requirement will have much effect. The problem I see is that if a small number of people claim that they were denied because they were unable to get an ID or if the were denied because they were unaware of the requirement, when in fact they are simply part of the larger group of 82% that simply choose not to vote for whatever reason. Sure, we can take them at their word. We can believe that absolutely no person in the state would make such a claim just to make a point. Just don't count me in on that. I absolutely believe that there will be some who will make that false claim. What remains to be seen, in my opinion, is how many will make that false claim. Their numbers I suspect will cause the exceedingly few who have legitimate claims to be ignored. And that too is sad.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

You can believe whatever you like.

All I said is that it's difficult, if even possible, to really determine the effects of this sort of law.

bevy 5 years, 7 months ago

Does the 2-3 hour wait at the DMV happen for folks trying to get ID cards? You bet it does! Ever stand in a line for 2-3 hours with a screaming toddler? Ever stand NEAR someone who has a screaming toddler for hours? If they are going to require ID, then they need to ramp up the staffing, location, and availability for DMV offices statewide.

jessie 5 years, 7 months ago

Well I am concerned that so much of Kris Kobach's time has been spent on this issue.
He is only working part-time for Kansas as it is.

classclown 5 years, 7 months ago


Only 26 people out of thousands have availed themselves of the "free" voter ID system Kobach brags about (omitting the 6 who used Jamie Shew's new county system): that tells us that the obstacles to obtaining the ID are very great. Too great.

August 6, 2012 at 11:31 a.m


Or it could be telling us that all those people we consider to be disenfranchised in reality don't care.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

The strange thing is that the address doesn't have to match your registered address.

So, the ID will prove you are who you should be (unless it's fake), but not that you live where you're registered to vote.

Isn't that a problem?

What if you've moved, but haven't updated your address on your driver's license? You'll be voting in the wrong district, and for the wrong people.

average 5 years, 7 months ago

My driver's license is five years old, and three addresses ago. I updated it with the KS Treasurer's office each time, but they don't reprint the DLs. Thank dickens... imagine the lines in August in Lawrence if DLs had to have updated addresses on them.

FWIW, passports are accepted as photo ID, and they don't have an address on them at all.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually, you are supposed to update your address on your DL when you move, within a certain rather short time period, in fact.

Doesn't it seem odd to you that the ID's don't have to have both your photo and your correct address, the same one you're registered at?

Armstrong 5 years, 7 months ago

Update: As of 8:30 this morning everyone in line to vote already had their drivers liscence out before signing in. Can't wait to hear the " stories " of discrimination at the polls.

unclebiff 5 years, 7 months ago

The time has come for photo I.D. and I have no problem with it.

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