Archive for Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Two legislators will file bill to change proof-of-citizenship requirement for voters

August 28, 2013


— Two legislators will file a bill during the special session next week that they said would fix a law that has jeopardized the voter registrations of approximately 15,000 Kansans.

Sonny Scroggins, a social activist in Topeka, protested Wednesday outside Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach&squot;s office. Scroggins opposes the state&squot;s new requirement, pushed by Kobach, that people show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. Scroggins&squot; protest came on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King&squot;s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Sonny Scroggins, a social activist in Topeka, protested Wednesday outside Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office. Scroggins opposes the state's new requirement, pushed by Kobach, that people show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. Scroggins' protest came on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Noting that there are elections scheduled this fall in Johnson County, state Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, said today, "Suspended voters will not be able to vote in these upcoming elections without passage of this act. We must protect the right for all people to vote."

In Kansas, approximately 15,000 Kansans cannot currently cast ballots because their voter registrations are in "suspense" because they haven't proved their U.S. citizenship with a birth certificate or other document. The state's proof-of-citizenship requirement became effective Jan.1 .

Faust-Goudeau and state Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, plan to introduce the Protection Against Voter Suppression Act, which would add to state law a provision similar to the one in federal law that allows a voter to sign an affidavit stating he or she is a citizen. If the statement were false, the voter would face a jail sentence.

"We want strong integrity in our voting system, but more than 15,000 Kansans not being able to vote is wrong," said Ward.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Arizona proof-of-citizenship requirement similar to the current Kansas law.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who pushed for the proof-of-citizenship requirement, has defended the Kansas law.

Kobach and the secretary of state of Arizona are seeking a court order requiring the United States Election Assistance Commission to modify the federal voter registration form to include those states’ requirements that a person provide proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes the proof of citizenship requirement, has notified Kobach that it will file a lawsuit against the state.

The Kansas Legislature is scheduled to start a special session Tuesday to address a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that has sidelined the state law that allows a sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years in heinous murder cases.

Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders have said they want to limit the special session to working on the so-called Hard 50 law.

But Ward said legislators should also tackle the voting law during the special session.

"We can and should fix this now, during a special session where we are already proactively fixing another law ruled unconstitutional, and before upcoming elections," he said.


jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, I've changed my mind. I expected the numbers of people to be denied their right to vote to be in the low single digits, a number very close to the numbers of illegal votes cast. The numbers of those denied their right to vote is alarmingly high. Until all the kinks are worked out, I've reversed my position on proof of citizenship requirements.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

Disenfranchised voters or the same incompetents that set this system up are the ones counting the votes. Those appear to be my only options. I can't feel good about either.

James Nelson 4 years, 9 months ago

Voting is one of our most precious rights and for 15,000 Kansans to have it ripped away by an overzealous politician is too much for me, too. One knows on the one hand that the federal courts will declare the law unconstitutional as they have already in other states. The question is "how long will that take"? This large number could actually sway some elections and I would hate to see these people's votes not count in elections waiting for the courts. I believe the legislature should take this up and fix this problem.

oldexbeat 4 years, 9 months ago

soon only white males that own property will be wanted on the voter rolls by Krissss Kobach. That's the point. See that.

Jayhawker07 4 years, 9 months ago

Exactly who are our most precious voters? Am I not or 1%ers or who? Anything and everything I do gets recorded audio/video and show ID. I even have a Dillons Card, and so many others. How in the heck can I escape this world with no ID? I hope they are not talking about our elderly. These folks are most of the ones who get off there axxes and vote. Who are these most precious voters?

hillsandtrees 4 years, 9 months ago

These citizens are being denied voting rights because of 1) the computer system is not able to transfer the information to the County Clerks, 2) the citizen doesn't have or for some reason, has not provided the birth certificate or other document to "prove" citizenship. 20,000,000 US citizens don't have the documents that Kansas is requiring to register to vote.

In addition to the costs incurred by citizens, the cost to the state and counties, i.e., is enormous. Costs to take this issue to court will be a waste of tax payer dollars.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Do you have a source for the 20 million without proof of citizenship? Seems a bit high to me, as it's almost 10% of the population, which would mean almost 1 out of 10 people can't prove they're citizens.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 9 months ago

I couldn't find my source for 20 million, but I did find the sources from using 2006 data for 13 million who don't have the documents;

Survey results: proof of citizenship As many as 7% of United States citizens – 13 million individuals – do not have ready access to citizenship documents. Seven percent of the American citizens surveyed responded that they do not have ready access to U.S. passports, naturalization papers, or birth certificates. 2 Using 2000 census calculations of the citizen voting-age population, this translates to more than 13 million American adult citizens nationwide who cannot easily produce documentation proving their citizenship.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which helped bring the original lawsuit against the state regulations, said 31,000 potential voters had their applications rejected in the two years after the Arizona law took effect. MALDEF said 90% of those were born in the U.S.

“Passports cost about $135 and take four to six weeks to get,” she said. “If you’ve lost your naturalization certificate or it was somehow destroyed, it would cost $345 and take six months for a new one. For a certificate of citizenship, it’s $600 and an eight-month processing time.”

Read more here:

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, that's a little different - it says "ready access".

It would take a little work for me to get a birth certificate, but that doesn't mean I don't have one - those are two different things.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

Most of these 15,000 showed their birth certificates when registered vote at the DMV. They should just trust the employees there and accept their registration. It was the state's lousy software system, not the voters. I would like a list of these voters. I would be willing to help contact them to get them registered correctly, so we could defeat Kobach, Brownback and company.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Anybody who has the proof should take it directly to the County Clerk's office, and make sure they are correctly registered, if they want to vote.

Of course, it's possible that some of these folks want to make this a legal issue, and would prefer to continue to be "in suspense", which I guess is ok, but I'd prefer they actually vote.

elliottaw 4 years, 9 months ago

my guess is that some of these folks don't even know, considering that I still get property tax bills for a vehicle I sold 3 years ago I doubt everyone has been contacted.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, anybody who tried to register at the DMV can call the clerk and ask if they're properly registered - that's not too hard.

Then, if they're not, they can take their proof directly to that office.

Did you provide proof of sale to the clerk's office and tell them about the tax bills? If so, what did they say?

hillsandtrees 4 years, 9 months ago

And just too bad if you are a low income worker, working 8 - 5 (County Clerks office hours) and live 30 miles from the Court House.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, that would be more difficult.

Perhaps the clerk's office should open some other hours to accommodate people who need that.

Can people just mail the information? Would that be sufficient?

Standing_on_my_own_2_feet 4 years, 9 months ago

I went to the see my Doctor the other day. I HAD TO SHOW PHOTO ID before I could receive services. Hmmmmm. Many of the people complaining about the new Voter ID law are absolutely clueless. You people are so blinded by your hatred for republicans that is akin to the hatred of racism that you continually accuse "other" people of.

Shame on you.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 9 months ago

Did you HAVE to? Or did they ask for id and you showed it? I seriously doubt that too many medical professionals who take their healing oath seriously would refuse to provide services to people who don't have photo id.

sciencegeek 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, you have to. It's because insurance fraud is the fastest-growing form of identity theft. I've had it asked for at every clinic or medical office I've been to.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

That's not the issue here, science geek. The issue is showing their birth certificate when registering, instead of signing the pledge that they are citizens. There's the issue of the problem with the software at the DMV, which just happened to occur at this time. Coincidence?

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 9 months ago

No. You cannot really believe that people who do not have photo id are denied medical care. The fact is most of us have such id and so don't think about what would happen if we didn't. Many perhaps assume it's "required" to show id because we're always asked. Maybe insurance companies say we won't cover any treatment without photo id. And maybe primary care providers will decline patients, then, out of concern for not getting paid. But necessary, emergent medical care won't be denied to people who don't have a photo id. And there are lots of ways of satisfying the insurance fraud concerns without providing photo id.

All of which is just a red herring anyway because voting is a fundamental right that can't be denied to people the way insurance coverage can.

oldbaldguy 4 years, 9 months ago

naw, this is really about voter suppression. i vote repbublican and i can see what it is. also a great way to rake in attorney fees for mr kobach in his wanderings around the country.

William Weissbeck 4 years, 9 months ago

Keep this up and no one will want to admit they are citizens.

Armstrong 4 years, 9 months ago

So I guess the big question is how do these 15,000 wannabe voters not have any of the following.

•Birth certificate that verifies United States citizenship •United States passport or pertinent pages of the applicant's valid or expired United States passport identifying the applicant and the applicant's passport number •United States naturalization documents •Other documents or methods of proof of United States citizenship issued by the federal government pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 •Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, tribal treaty card number or tribal enrollment number •Consular report of birth abroad of a citizen of the United States •Certificate of citizenship issued by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services •Certification of report of birth issued by the United States Department of State •American Indian card, with KIC classification, issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security (Note: This document applies only to a small Texas band of the Kickapoo tribe with slightly more than 50 members.) •Final adoption decree showing the applicant's name and United States birthplace •United States military record of service showing applicant's place of birth in the United States •Extract from a United States hospital record of birth created at the time of the applicant's birth indicating the applicant's place of birth in the United States •Only if the agency indicates on the applicant's driver's license or nondriver's identification card that the person has provided satisfactory proof of United States citizenship, then a driver's license or nondriver's identification card issued by the Kansas Division of Vehicles or the equivalent governmental agency of another state within the United States

Tyler Palmer 4 years, 9 months ago

Based on what has been reported about this issue, it appears that the biggest problem may not be that these folks don't have appropriate documentation to register to vote, it's that the system to let them know additional documentation is required is broken.

These folks went in for a driver's license, either a new or renewal, and checked the motor-voter box to also register to vote at the address they were putting on their driver's license. Because the new driver's license computer system has been a total mess to implement (the state is still withholding the final payments to the vendor because of all the issues), it doesn't work correctly and apparently, is not appropriately connected to other state systems as it was supposed to in order to be able to pass information between the motor vehicles division, secretary of state's office, and county clerks. So, many of these folks probably don't even know that their voter registration wasn't processed because they are likely under the impression they already did everything that was required at the driver's license bureau and they haven't been notified otherwise.

The legislation to require all this additional proof of citizenship documentation is a bunch of crap anyway. It was a solution looking for a problem. Kansas simply does not have a voter fraud problem and hasn't had a voter fraud problem. The number of verified cases of voter fraud over the past 30 years in Kansas can be counted on one hand. This is just another example of the radicals currently running the state government simply pushing through more ALEC model legislation to make themselves look tough on [insert fictitious issue here] rather than taking the time to work on issues that are actually important to the well-being of Kansans.

Since voting is one of our most fundamental rights, I would prefer that our elected officials worked much harder to make voting and registering to vote much easier and to get more people to participate in elections, so that we can have a truly representative government rather than one comprised of people selected because they were able to get the vocal minority of their party energized enough to get out and vote for them.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

We have told people over and over about the facts and why these people are not registered properly, but they still insist that people didn't show their birth certificate. Facts just can't get through to people like Armstrong. It gets in the way of their ideology.

globehead 4 years, 9 months ago

Kobach screwed it up. Kobach should fix it! These 15,000 people already did 100% what they were supposed to do. Kobach needs to drive to every one of their residences or to whatever state agency has their birth records, regardless of the state, and get the copies himself. He screwed it up...he needs to fix it. No election should be held until this is fixed and when current terms expire, nobody should be seated until this is fixed, period. This is a total travesty. This useless farce of a Secretary of State for Kansas has accomplished the exact opposite of what his job entails. If he was a french fry cook, he'd have been fired a long time ago.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

Why do the government haters never leave a government tax dollar payroll?

globehead 4 years, 9 months ago

Excellent question....kind of like having a guy work for Ford who hates cars. You know you'll get a good product from that guy.

IndusRiver 4 years, 9 months ago

I can't get a certified copy of my birth record without a photo ID. I can't get my photo ID without a copy of my birth record.

Criminally stupid. Isn't voting how.....

IndusRiver 4 years, 9 months ago

...guys like Kris Kobach ride out of town on the same horse they rode in on?

Frank Smith 4 years, 9 months ago

Kobach's law has caused trouble for a number of states.

It has no other purpose than to keep certain demographics from voting, including Democrats, students, union members, or minorities.

Kobach has long been a racist for hire, sucking at the Koch brothers' teat.

Throwback's judicial appointment of Phill Kline's lawyer is another reason that there will be a special session, so that this and others like it can be rushed through further from public scrutiny.

You can bet on other hijinks while they're in session.

Let's hope that Scam is just a one-term governor.

verity 4 years, 9 months ago

I must be missing something here, but if a person has registered at the DMV while getting a driver's license, don't they then have a photo ID?

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