Archive for Saturday, September 22, 2012

Voters reminded to register in time

September 22, 2012

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Kansans wanting to vote in the Nov. 6 general election and who are not already registered to vote can register through Oct. 16.

“This is always a large turnout” in a presidential election year, said Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew.

“We always say, check your registration to make sure it’s current,” Shew said. “We have so many voters who vote only every four years, and some have moved around.”

More than 72 percent of registered voters voted in the 2008 presidential election in Kansas, with a nearly 67 percent turnout in Douglas County.

Anyone who has changed addresses since last voting needs to reregister in order to ensure having the correct ballot, Shew said.

In addition to the presidential contest, the Nov. 6 election ballot also features congressional, legislative, State Board of Education, local races and a proposed constitutional amendment that, if approved, will allow the Legislature to classify and tax watercraft on a different basis from other property.

And while voters who went to the polls in the August primaries were required to show a government-issued photo ID, this is the first general election in Kansas where voters must show a photo ID to vote.

Prior to the primary, Douglas County became the first county in Kansas issuing voter IDs as a service.

Shew said he has provided about 50 so far.

In fact, Shew has sent employees to nursing homes to make sure that residents have proper ID to vote.

If they don’t, Shew’s employees will take a photo of the person, process their paperwork and send the Douglas County ID back to him or her.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who was the main proponent of photo ID, says Shew’s system meets the requirements of the law.

“It is a valid, government-issued ID,” Kobach said in August. “The only concerns we would have would be if a governmental unit were issuing the IDs without a requisite checking to ensure that a person was actually establishing who he or she says she is. But we are satisfied that Douglas County is doing that.”

Critics of the statewide ID law have said some elderly and low-income Kansans will be unable to get the necessary documents together in time to obtain an ID.

Shew said, “For me, it’s really important to be proactive, to kind of think through who would be impacted and reach out before Election Day.”

During the primaries, Shew said 41 provisional ballots were cast related to lack of identification. All but 15 of those ballots were eventually counted when voters provided ID later. Of those that weren’t, nine said they had photo ID but were protesting the law and refused to show it.

Comments

Shelley Bock 2 years, 9 months ago

Shew is on the ball by initiating an ID procedure for those who are less likely to have a driver's license or the ability to get one. Compliments to his him and his staff for being user friendly. His promotion of voting is far better than the efforts of State officials.

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