Topeka Democratic legislators on Monday said the voter ID law that Secretary of State Kris Kobach pushed will deny more votes of legitimate voters than it will catch in fraudulent votes.
"I'd be willing to put a $5 bill on it," said state Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka.
But Kobach, a Republican, said showing a photo ID to vote isn't onerous. He said a photo ID is required in many aspects of everyday life, and he noted that Illinois was considering a law to require a photo ID to purchase Drano.
Mah said voting was a constitutionally protected right unlike purchasing Drano.
The comments came during a discussion before the House Elections Committee.
Kobach, a Republican, successfully pushed for a state law that took effect Jan.1 that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. The law also requires people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to provide proof of their citizenship. That takes effect in January 2013, but Kobach is pushing to make it effective June 15, in time for this year's primaries and general election.
Kobach told the committee that the first test of the new photo ID requirement went off without a hitch in the Jan. 10 election in Cimarron, where residents in the 2,200 population town in southwest Kansas voted to approve a sales tax increase to build a new swimming pool.
But state Rep. Melody McCray-Miller, D-Wichita, said rural Cimarron was not a good "test case" to address the concerns of groups that say the ID law will suppress the votes of minority, elderly and student voters.
Kobach also told the committee that in his review of the 2010 election, he has found 41 instances of voter fraud which includes people who voted twice and felons who voted. He said all those cases have been referred to local prosecutors, but he added for some reason none of the cases have been charged yet.
He also said that by matching various databases, he has found 32 instances of aliens being registered to vote. He said his office is in the process of trying to remove them from the voter registration lists, but first must contact them to see if a mistake has been made.
In addition, Kobach said his office has about $300,000 in federal funds to start an educational campaign about the new voting requirements. This will include print, radio and television ads, he said.
There are several more elections in the state next month, including a hotel guest tax provision in Wichita.