Archive for Thursday, June 27, 2013

Retirement home residents sue Kobach over law requiring photo ID to vote

June 27, 2013


— Kansas’ law requiring voters to present a picture ID is being challenged in Shawnee County.

Wichita attorney Jim Lawing filed the lawsuit Wednesday for Overbrook residents Arthur Spry and Charles Hamner to contest the constitutionality of the voting mandate included in the state’s Secure and Fair Elections Act of 2011. The act was written by Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is the only named defendant in the case.

Critics have denounced the legislation as an attempt to suppress voter turnout among poor, minority and elderly voters.

Kobach, who didn’t immediately respond to phone messages seeking comment Thursday, has said he’s confident the voter ID law is constitutional, and that the state’s election law reform was necessary to prevent people who ware in the U.S. illegally from engaging in fraud, The Topeka Capital Journal reported.

State law requires voters have a photo ID when voting in person and a driver’s license number when voting by mail. Kansas also requires proof of citizenship for those registering to vote for the first time.

If one doesn’t have proof of identity and is unable to pay for such a document, he or she can apply for a free State Voter Identification Document. To be eligible for that, a person born in Kansas must apply to the Kansas Office of Vital Statistics for a certified copy of a birth certificate and obtain from the agency a “no certificate letter.” Kobach’s office then must be given a copy of this letter.

Hamner and Spry, both retirees, were blocked last year from having their votes counted because they didn’t have a government-issued identity card with a photograph proving they were Kansas residents in good standing. They voted with provisional ballots in November 2012, but those weren’t counted because neither man provided sufficient proof of their identity.

Lawing said both Hamner and Spry live in a retirement home and neither had access to birth records necessary to secure a picture ID. He said they also don’t have driver’s licenses, computers or the resources to apply for a free state ID.

“The right to vote is a fundamental right possessed by Kansas citizens, and the plaintiffs’ rights to vote were denied,” Lawing said in the lawsuit. “It is a pernicious attack on the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs and thousands of other Kansans who do not enjoy ready access to modern technology.”

Lawing’s lawsuit asserted the system established by Kobach to obtain supplemental identification for voting was also “clumsy and deceptive.”

“If it were not so damaging to Kansas’ right to vote, the deliberately over-engineered system described ... would be linked to Rube Goldberg, a famous cartoonist, and enjoy a position of honor in the annals of political humor,” the lawsuit said.


Mike Ford 9 months, 3 weeks ago

where do I start notajayhawk??? Overbrook is a town of maybe 1,000 people about 35 miles southwest of lawrence on US 56. The public library isn't that big and the town serves mainly as a bedroom community for Topeka and lawrence. If the retirement home there is anything like the ones in ottawa there are no computers for the inhabitants of this retirement home. It is on the west edge of that town. Missouri isn't Kansas right notajayhawk??? keep beating on the elderly and the working poor.... it makes herr kobach happy....


notajayhawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

"Lawing said both Hamner and Spry live in a retirement home and neither had access to birth records necessary to secure a picture ID. He said they also don’t have driver’s licenses, computers or the resources to apply for a free state ID."

There are no computers in the retirement home? And they never go anywhere like the library?

It doesn't matter anyway. When Missouri first passed a voter ID law, they even purchased a number of specialized vans that traveled around the state TO such places as retirement homes so voters could get a state-issued picture ID without going anywhere or paying a dime. That still wasn't enough to make people happy.


Mike Ford 9 months, 3 weeks ago

again as conservatives love to beat on the victims of their actions these seniors case was probably discussed locally until an attorney who deals with this type of legal work was located. Attorneys seeing this kind of malfeasance are usually more than happy to work pro bono to help people with little ability to pay for legal services because the people who pick on them usually figure that these people will not fight back will little money to do so. Pro bono legal work is a godsend for those people who are targeted by politicians like kobach.


FastEddy 9 months, 3 weeks ago

"Lawing said both Hamner and Spry live in a retirement home and neither had access to birth records necessary to secure a picture ID. He said they also don’t have driver’s licenses, computers or the resources to apply for a free state ID."

Help me understand how these destitute seniors in Overbrook did not have the resources to apply for a free stae ID, yet had the resources to contact and retain an attorney in Wichita.


Mike Ford 9 months, 3 weeks ago

my parent became terminally ill waiting for a liver transplant. their condition was so dire that the state of Kansas took away his driver's license. living fifteen miles from Lawrence is bad for people who can't drive. my parent had to negotiate with relatives who like I worked when the license bureau was open. that presented another issue. he was finally able to get to the license bureau after much pleading with relatives. he didn't drive from November 2008 to October 2009. He got the liver transplant in May 2009. It's not that easy and yes Mr. Kobach and some of his followers are heartless people. We were protesting Lynn Jenkins before the last election and one of her followers mocked my father and his struggles to get an ID while being terminally ill and unable to drive and not having valid ID after his illness caused his driver's license to be revoked. It made my father so angry that this person was so heartless about circumstances created by this ID voting law for the elderly, the disabled, and the shut-ins, that I had to separate my father from this person when she laughed at the struggles he had to endure as the liver issues nearly took his life and he tried to exercise his right to vote under extenuating circumstances. much of the populace has no regard for others.


oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Frankie8. How didLawrence attys not make the list.

These people who pst that Wichita is helping the guys apparently didn't read. They do NOT live in Wichita. They live in Overbrook KS.

Bobbie and Gerald need to help Arthur!


optimist 9 months, 3 weeks ago

“The right to vote is a fundamental right possessed by Kansas citizens, and the plaintiffs’ rights to vote were denied,” Lawing said in the lawsuit."

What about the votes of lawful citizens being negated by the votes of illegal aliens? Isn't that tantamount to denying them the vote? If these men are receiving social security or their retirement home stays are being tax payer funded they had to provide at least the same proof to obtain those services as is required to vote. This was set up to take this case to court and essentially corrupt the electoral process. I question the motives of anyone that thinks that we should leave the electoral process open to corruption. Destroying the people’s confidence in the process is the ultimate act of voter suppression.


Anydaynow 9 months, 3 weeks ago

All this over senior citizens that want to vote and cannot because they don't have the proper ID. We have a second term president without proper ID.......


Bruce Rist 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Should the EU "The Socialist European Union" stop their citizens from showing ID when they vote? Every Western Country requires ID when they vote, except for one. Thank you, Mr. Kobach for getting the great state of Kansas out of the Dark Ages


poolside 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I work with this age group and I have helped them through the voting hurdles-Hooray for a lawsuit!!! it is justified!!!


chootspa 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The fact that some of the posters feel the need to bash a couple of old people on this one is telling. Very telling.


Ladyhawk65 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Anytime you go to a doctor or hospital you have to present your Insurance card and a photo ID. That is standard. Why should it be such a big deal that you prove your citizenship before voting for the people who are going to make our laws. Quit whining about why you can't get one and just get it done. It has to be easier than hiring a lawyer (and cheaper) and filing suit. There are all kinds of people in nursing homes that can help you get this done.


tomatogrower 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Our county clerk is the best. He and his people have bent over backwards to make sure our elders in nursing homes get the id they need to vote. But how many other counties are doing this? And in Wichita? There are a lot of people there. I'm sure their county clerk couldn't come close to what our clerk has done.


Tony Kisner 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I wonder if the draft board found these two guys back when.


Leslie Swearingen 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't drive and never have, but do have a state photo ID. It has also been easy to get and I have never had to show ID since they already have that information. I have not had to get once since the system changed however. I do like it that they give you a receipt with your picture on it to use until you get your new card in the mail. You should take care to keep that receipt in a safe place since you can use that to get a new ID should you lose it without a lot of trouble.


George_Braziller 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I provide a few hours of attendant services for an elderly woman and I've already been through this. Needed a valid photo ID to board the jet to Virginia to attend her granddaughter's wedding. Kansas law made it impossible for her to get one. Didn't have a valid driver's license or a copy of her birth certificate however she did have an expired US passport which originally required a copy of a birth certificate.

In Kansas you have to have a current photo ID to get a birth certificate, but have to have a birth certificate to get a current photo ID. Fortunately she was born in North Dakota so a simple form with her social security number and a copy of the expired passport was all it took to get a copy of her birth certificate so I could get her a Kansas photo ID.

The entire process took almost six weeks.


oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

So if Mr Spry is 83, I bet Bobbie and Gerald would know. A real retirement community and there is no one there to assist?

You do not need to go to Topeka or any other state to get a birth certificate it can be done by mail.

I am betting these two old dudes are sharper than a nail and are having some fun. After Mr Spry was probably quite spry in Vallejo, CA


Richard Heckler 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Seems to me instead of Kobach trying to outlaw voting he should spend his time outlawing electronic voting devices. Kobach be productive please.

Voter ID's cannot stop electronic voter fraud.

Thank you...


bevy 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It seems that all of you are missing the point. They didn't say that they couldn't prove who they were, they said that the process for doing so was too onerous. If you haven't driven in years, have your social security and medicare direct-deposited (which might have been set up, say 10 years before, when you were still driving) and live in a retirement home far from Topeka, this could prove challenging for you. If you had no family around to drive you to Topeka, how would you get your birth records? If you don't have (or don't know how to use) a computer, you can't request these things online. If you are 75 years old and infirm, even if you can jump through all these other hoops, do you have the physical stamina to wait in line for several HOURS at the understaffed DMV to get your ID card? Not to mention they seem to take great joy in telling you you didn't bring some obscure thing you didn't know you have to have, after you've waited in line for 3 hours.

I am not opposed to requiring voters to provide ID, BUT if we are going to go that route, we need to make getting an ID less onerous and provide adequate staffing and support (including computer systems that actually WORK) to reduce the burden on people like these. Perhaps the state could take their ID show on the road, and visit rural areas at intervals to meet this need where it exists. Oh wait, that would make far too much sense. Won't happen.

I'm betting these gents paid taxes in Kansas their whole lives. Why shouldn't their votes count?

Shame on us if we can't make this work.


Centerville 9 months, 3 weeks ago

So sad they're being used like this, being portrayed as being too senile to prove their identities but somehow able to get Social Security benefits.


neworleans 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Typical greedy old bags....................americans........


Lefty54 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This is great. Senior citizens have long been the bedrock of the republican party. Now senior citizens are starting to realize that Brownback and Kobach don't care about them.

The GOP has all ready lost blacks, hispanics, women and young people. Now they are losing the elderly. They will be the party of middle aged white guys.


oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Instead of trying to prove he is charles e hamner try Charles r hamner aka . These old guys have been duped by a grandstanding attorney.who wants to get each of them $5,000 each because their votes didn't count.

Well, my vote didn't count in local elections and can I sue for $10,000?


lawrenceloser 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't care about the info surrounding the issue. The main thing is people are standing up to Brownback's forces of evil.


Joe Hyde 9 months, 3 weeks ago

How can SoS Kobach profess confidence that the voter ID law he authored is constitutional when the U.S. Supreme Court only a few days ago ruled that it's not?


oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

WIBW reports they want $5,000 each for damages because their votes didn't count!

Hamner is most likely around 75 and now can't prove who he is?


oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Hope the old dudes do not wander off! No picture available of them.

This AP story is short some facts.


oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

They live in a retirement home in KANSAS and can't prove they have residence in Kansas? What is the name of the retirement home?


Dont_Tread_On_Me 9 months, 3 weeks ago

they can hire a lawyer but cannot get an ID?


fiddleback 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Boys, I applaud this effort, but whatever you do, just don't leave your walkers or canes on his lawn. Old man Kobach hates that.


oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Something is wrong in the article. If they are retirees and drawing social security and in retirement home with Medicaid assistance, how did they prove who they are? There are some missing facts in the story.


fan4kufootball 9 months, 3 weeks ago

can you not use an expired drivers license?


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