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.


fan4kufootball 4 years, 11 months ago

can you not use an expired drivers license?

gatekeeper 4 years, 11 months ago

An expired ID is not a valid ID for anything.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

Actually, according to the information I got from the state, expired driver's licenses were valid for purposes of voting for senior citizens.

jaydocky 4 years, 11 months ago

Neither medicare nor social security provide picture ids.

Joe Berns 4 years, 11 months ago

None of which have your photo on them.

grandnanny 4 years, 11 months ago

My sister has been drawing social security for ten years but when she tried to get a passport three years ago, she did not have a valid birth certificate. To get a passport she had to provide school records, a newspaper article showing her birth (funny that it worked for her but not President Obama), baptismal records. It took me several months to find the records she needed to prove she is a citizen even though she has lived in Kansas all of her life. It is not as easy as you all think to prove that you are a citizen. Luckily she has been voting for years and still drives so she does have drivers' license.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

I applied online for Social Security. Didn't need any documentation. Fortunately, I have two official photo IDs.

jaydocky 4 years, 11 months ago

Medicare and social security don't provide picture ids.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months ago

Are we to believe they never worked, never drove, never had a checking or savings account? When I go to the doctor or get a prescription filled I have to show ID to prove who I am. Their doctors should have copies on file. So should the hospital if they have ever been there, or to the dentist.

This story sounds untrue in a lot of aspects.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

What pharmacy are you going to? I've never had to show ID and in fact have had people pick up prescriptions for me. After outpatient surgery, I wasn't exactly able to drive to the pharmacy to get my pain scrips filled.

It is much easier to get through life without photo ID than people suggest. But if you don't have one already, it's much harder to prove that you are who you say you are than people are willing to accept.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months ago

I use the one at the South Walmart which is very good. Everyone that uses it has had to show ID and you have to give them your birth date when you pick up the meds. I was there one day when a woman tried to pick up meds that did not belong to her and got caught. They belonged to a friend who had not asked her to pick them up. I also have to show a photo ID every time I have a test at the hospital.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

I have not had that experience either at a pharmacy or the hospital. In the times I have been at the hospital, it would have been inconvenient at best if I'd had to pull out my id. And as I said earlier, if I had had to pick up my pain meds after my surgery, that would have been ugly. The point remains that it is absolutely not standard and perfectly manageable for people to get medications and hospital tests without having id.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months ago

Okay, now I am wondering why LMH always asks for my picture ID and medical insurance card and copies them and they don't ask you.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

When I was at LMH, I was a referral from another hospital, so they already had my info from that other hospital. The point, though, is that not having a photo id would not actually be a bar such that the hospital wouldn't treat a person in need of medical care. They wouldn't have sent me home with an untreated broken bone if I hadn't had my driver's license with me.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

Older people don't drive. If they live in a retirement home there is often a bank who does business in the nursing home or they have given a child the right to pay their bills. Most people have automatic deposit, and they don't need ID for the bank. And what doctor and pharmacy do you go to? Your doctor hasn't figured out who you are? Maybe it's because you are young. Older people have probably voted in the same place for years. They've gone to the same doctor and pharmacy. Those people know them and don't need an id.

roggy 4 years, 11 months ago

I just had a test run at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. I had to show a picture ID. I have gone to the same doctor for 25 years but now have to show a picture ID yearly when I update my records. I think most insurance companies require it. I am not sure what older folks do but I know they are required to show picture ID's when going to the hospital.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

Were you required? Or were you just asked and you had your id on you, so you showed it? A year ago, I didn't have to show id at that same hospital. A person who is injured without id on her body isn't denied treatment when she is brought to a hospital. So, no, they aren't "required" to show id at the hospital.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 11 months ago

We don't expect you to believe anything (other than what Kobach and ilk tell you to believe). The story is to inform of the troubles this law causes.

Kris Kobach, creating invisible monsters and pretending to slay them.

Beth Ennis 4 years, 11 months ago

depending on how old these men are, they could have been retired for 30 years already. Thirty years ago ID wasn't required. We were a much more trusting society. You filled out the paperwork, provided your SSN and it went through. It could have been 10-20 years ago that they quit driving and when you live in a retirement home, you don't keep old drivers licenses around. My dad died in 2005 at 81 years of age. He was born at home, there was no birth certificate. When he wanted to join the service when Pearl Harbor was bombed, him and my grandma went down to the state agency that keeps the birth certificates on file and she filled out a document saying that she was his mom and that he was born at home, and they issued a birth certificate. Again, it was a different world 30 years ago.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

Exactly. And now for the first time in their lives, they're being required to come up with documents they don't have, perhaps have never seen. It's just not that easy.

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 11 months ago

Two senior citizens living in a nursing home in rural Kansas can't catch a break from oneeye_wilbur. I wonder if he has empathy for anyone at all.

fiddleback 4 years, 11 months 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.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm sure the lawyer is doing this for free.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

They don't need to track down vital records from 80 years ago to hire a lawyer now.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

They can prove they live in Kansas, in fact they have probably voted in the same place over and over, and everyone knows who they are, but that's not good enough for Kobach. Legally they still have to show their ids.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

A photo ID and a photograph---not the same thing.

Joe Hyde 4 years, 11 months 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?

Lefty54 4 years, 11 months 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.

notajayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

How good of you to notice (something it appears few others have done). The allegation that the Republican party is trying to suppress the vote of one of their most secure voting blocks doesn't make a lot of sense now, does it?

kernal 4 years, 11 months ago

Obviously Kansas is not to your taste since you're using the moniker neworleans. So why are you even here? If if you think Americans are greedy old bags, why are you even here?

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months ago

That"s called sarcasm. Maybe he just likes neworleans, I know I do. Or maybe he is a history buff.

Centerville 4 years, 11 months 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.

bevy 4 years, 11 months 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.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

Bevy, you are so right. A whole bunch of thumbs up.

We will be judged on how we treat those who are most vulnerable.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months 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...

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Voter ID's cannot stop electronic voter fraud which is real and a threat to democracy.

skull 4 years, 11 months ago

So we really ARE trying to become a third world country? I thought that was just some liberal rhetoric.

George_Braziller 4 years, 11 months 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.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

Now imagine she had been born in Canada while her parents were on a trip from North Dakota. To prove she was a citizen to Kobach's satisfaction, she'd have to track down their birth certificates...

George_Braziller 4 years, 11 months ago

She didn't track the information down, I did. Didn't have a clue where to start so I did it for her because "gasp" some people of a certain age don't have a clue about the internet.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

Thank you for your service. You did a good thing.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

Exactly. Without access to resources and help, it's just not that easy to prove we are who we are.

compmd 4 years, 11 months ago

You don't actually need a photo ID to fly. The TSA just wants you to think you do. As long as you have a valid boarding pass, they cannot use the lack of a photo ID as reason to deny you boarding your flight.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months 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.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

The fact that it's been easy for you doesn't mean it hasn't been difficult for others. Someone who was born in 1920 in a town whose vital records were wiped out due to a flood or tornado in 1934 might easily find themselves in 2013 having a terrible time trying to establish that they are eligible to vote in the state they have always lived in. I know a man whose birth certificate was wrongly recorded two days after the day he was actually born back in 1928. The difficulty he has had dealing with Social Security and Medicare and a dozen other bureaucracies is nuts. If his voter registration had ever lapsed, he'd be totally unable at this point to exercise his right to vote.

Your experiences aren't proof that our system is working fine for everyone.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

I suppose it's easy for you, but I'm also sure you can walk without a wheel chair or a walker. Do you even know any old people?

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months ago

Hey, people I am just giving my personal experience, not saying it is the same for anyone else. I have used a wheelchair in the past, and used a walker just the other day. I am sixty-seven and live at an apartment complex with a lot of other old people, so yes, I know old people. I am very computer savvy and am writing this from my living room where I not only have a computer and the internet, but a printer/scanner.

The Senor Center has a computer room, and occasionally has classes. I wonder if there is one in Wichita and if they would be willing to help with matters like this.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

Right outside my window it is dark outside. Therefore it is dark outside for everyone else in the entire world. That's pretty much how your argument is going.

Tony Kisner 4 years, 11 months ago

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

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months 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.

Ladyhawk65 4 years, 11 months 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.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

Have you read any of the previous comments? Your protestations notwithstanding, there is a segment of society for whom it simply isn't that simple. Right now a sitting senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, would have a very difficult time proving his claim to citizenship because he would need to present his birth certificate from Canada, his mother's US birth certificate, and, due to the law at the time of his birth, proof that his mother had lived in the US for a certain number of years before he was born. How easy do you think it would be to track down utility bills or school records for your mother from 50 years ago?

deec 4 years, 11 months ago

If a requirement for presenting ID at the hospital prior to being treated were actually true, every unconscious person brought to the hospital would be refused treatment.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

I've never been asked for my id at a doctor's office. Is this something new? It's almost time for my yearly checkup, and I'll probably have my id with me, but really? I don't really remember being asked for my id at a hospital. Of course, fortunately, I've never gone to the hospital much, once when indigestion caused a heart scare and once to donate a kidney. Mostly my doctor can take care of me. I guess with identity theft, it might be good to show your id, so someone doesn't come in and claim to be you, then you get the bill, but I don't think they would refuse treatment to someone without id.

optimist 4 years, 11 months ago

It is required. It became law to prevent health insurance fraud and is written into the ACA to ensure the accuracy of the electronic medical records that are being collected on each of us. The physician’s office will take photo copies of your insurance card and photo ID every time you go there for an appointment. The only exception are those that aren't on electronic medical records yet, which are few. That will change for them as well because the law had a deadline for all offices to comply with electronic medical records. It is not optional.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

Do you have a citation because I can't find support for what you are claiming. I do find support for the idea that medical providers are subject to the FTC's Red Flags Rule which requires them to take steps against identity theft. Those steps do not require a photo id, though. It would put doctors in an impossible situation to tell them they could not treat patients until after they see a photo id.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months 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.

Janis Pool 4 years, 11 months ago

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

Bruce Rist 4 years, 11 months 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

grandnanny 4 years, 11 months ago

According to Wikipedia (which could be wrong but don't think so in his case), National identity cards are issued by 24 European Union member states to their citizens. EU citizens holding a national identity card can not only use it as an identity document within their home country, but also as a travel document to exercise the right of free movement in the European Economic Area (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland.[citation needed] Some EU member states also issue national identity cards to residents who are non-EU citizens – these cards are only valid as an identity document within the issuing country and are not valid as a travel document for the rest of the EEA and Switzerland. Just wait for the screams from the right if we tried to do this but it would certainly eliminate all of your and everyone else's concerns.

skull 4 years, 11 months ago

I guess I didn't know that's what EU stood for...maybe they should put an S in there. Every western country has universal healthcare too, maybe Kobach can get us that too. That would solve some REAL problems, instead of this imaginary one.

Anydaynow 4 years, 11 months 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.......

optimist 4 years, 11 months 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.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

Do you have any proof of illegal aliens in Kansas voting or trying to vote? If so, please post.

Generally, I think, illegal aliens try to stay as far away as possible from situations where they might be found out.

Wally 4 years, 11 months ago

I would want to know more about this “Association for Honest Attorneys” before I would decide whether it was a bad thing or a good thing to be on their list. My personal favorite quote on this site (below the list): “Lawyers to Consider – We have removed the names of attorneys that we had on this list, because there are NO honest attorneys in America. Not one lawyer has joined our organization since we began in 2003, and this speaks volumes." Kind of sounds like someone may need a nap.

Mike Ford 4 years, 11 months 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.

bad_dog 4 years, 11 months ago

Help you understand? Well, you know people talk and exchange concerns and ideas. Lo and behold, solutions such as telephone numbers and interested representatives appear as if by magic.

The seniors' inability did not arise from a situation of destitution, rather because: " 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."

Hope that helps you "understand".

Mike Ford 4 years, 11 months 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.

notajayhawk 4 years, 11 months 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.

bevy 4 years, 11 months ago

Not to mention that it doesn't do any good to have access to computers, if you don't know how to use them, can't see well enough to use them, etc. Much as I HATE to say it, it sounds like Missouri had a good idea. (Much like what I suggested far above.) You are never going to make 100% of people happy, but that sounds like a pretty good start.

Mike Ford 4 years, 11 months 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....

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