Archive for Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Legislature unlikely to change proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration

September 3, 2013, 10:26 a.m. Updated September 3, 2013, 6:26 p.m.


— A proposal to change the new state law that has put at risk 15,000 Kansans’ ability to vote was rejected in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday and probably will not be revived during the special session.

Crowd gathered for rally on Tuesday urging the Kansas Legislature to repeal a proof of citizenship requirement to register to vote.

Crowd gathered for rally on Tuesday urging the Kansas Legislature to repeal a proof of citizenship requirement to register to vote.

As the Legislature started a special session to fix a constitutionally flawed murder statute, state Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, tried to pass a provision to eliminate the new state requirement that Kansans must show proof of U.S. citizenship with a document such as a birth certificate or passport when they register to vote.

Since the proof of citizenship requirement took effect Jan. 1, the voter registration applications of approximately 15,000 Kansans, including 600 in Douglas County, have been placed in “suspense,” which means they aren’t completed.

But Ward’s proposal, which he tried to attach to the bill fixing the murder statute, was declared not relevant, so it probably won’t be considered during the session. Republican legislative leaders have said the special session will last no more than three days and they want to focus solely on the murder statute and several appointments by Gov. Sam Brownback.

Voting rights advocates were upset.

“I live in Overland Park, where we’re having an election next month,” said Aaron Belenky, whose registration application is in ‘suspense.’

“My voter registration has been unlawfully ‘suspended,’ and unless the Legislature repeals this law, I will be denied my most fundamental freedom, the right to vote,” said Belenky.

The ACLU, NAACP, and Equality Kansas say the Kansas proof-of-citizenship requirement should be invalidated because the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Arizona provision that was similar to the current Kansas law.

During a rally of about 80 people in the Statehouse, Derek Bruey, an 18-year-old from Wichita, said his registration is in “suspense,” even though he provided proof of citizenship with a birth certificate when filling out forms to register to vote while getting a driver’s license. He said he received a notice from the state that he would have to provide the documentation again at the local election office.

He said the law was an “intentional effort” to make it more difficult for him to vote.

Ward’s proposal would have been similar to federal law by allowing 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.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who pushed for the proof of citizenship requirement, has defended the Kansas law, saying it is necessary to prevent non-citizens from voting.

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.

Glenda Overstreet, president of the NAACP Kansas State Conference, said Kobach was wasting taxpayer money on a “misguided lawsuit.”

“Since January 1st, he (Kobach) has flouted that law, insisting that Kansans provide documentation that is simply not required,” said Overstreet. “Voting is the most fundamental freedom we have as Americans, and Kobach’s scheme is un-American and must end immediately,” she said.


Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

In my opinion, anyone should be allowed to vote and the burden of proof should be on the government to prove a person is not a valid voter.

That said, if Aaron Belenky is being deprived of any "right" to vote that he may have, why is the ACLU not waging an all-out battle to have the law ruled unconstitutional instead of just saying they think the law should be invalidated.

bad_dog 4 years, 8 months ago

Ruling the law is unconstitutional is the basis for the Court's order invalidating it.

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

Belenky is not being deprived of his right to vote although that is how his quote and article has portrayed it. As though he is an innocent victim and is being persecuted for no reason. That is not the case.

"Belenky, a 39-year-old computer programmer, has his birth certificate and a passport but said he’d have to open and riffle through boxes in his Overland Park apartment to find them ..."

blindrabbit 4 years, 8 months ago

Meanwhile, Back in the USSR, Oh, my mistake 1933 Germany!

greywolf85203 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry but if you have to be a citizen of the USA to hold an office, then you should be a citizen to be able to vote. If you do not have your proof that you are a citizen then you need to file for citizenship. It is written in the constitution that voters must be legal citizens. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but its the law and if they want to change the law and allow illegals to vote it will only come back to bite them later!

elliottaw 4 years, 8 months ago

Please name an example where an illegal tried to vote

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

I wonder how we made it 200+ years on the wording of the Constitution alone.

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad they're not changing it. I agree that you should be a US citizen to vote and if that means showing your birth certificate or your Naturalization papers to register to vote so be it. Who doesn't have these things or are unable to get copies of them?

I also think that you should have to show ID when you vote. Amazing how that would cut down on voter fraud.

I do not want non-citizens or non-residents of my town, state or country to be able to help determine issues put before the voters. You want a say in how the cookie crumbles? Become a citizen and / or register to vote and show some ID when you get to the poles.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 8 months ago

1) No one wants non citizens to vote, 2) Voter fraud is next to zero, 3) you do realize, don't you that most of these 15,000 did show their proof of citizenship at the DMV when they registered to vote - but the information was not transferred to County Clerks, as promised by Mr. Kobach, 4) you are probably one of those grandfathered in who did not have to show proof of citizenship when you registered to vote - and yet you demand that others go through unnecessary extra steps in order to have our constitutional right to vote.

This law of Kobach is unconstitutional, just as Kobach's law in Arizona, which was struck down by the Supreme Court.

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

1) How are you going to prevent non-citizens from voting if you don't require folks to show proof of citizenship when they register? Big disconnect here. You agree with me but provide no other solutions.

2) Yes, at this time there is probably not a lot of voter fraud in Kansas but what about the future? I'd rather have things in place to prevent it before it happens.

3) No I did not. Just like any government screw-up, bring your stuff and prepare to do it again.

4) There is a Constitutional right to vote only for US Citizens, see #1. If I had to show my birth certificate (or if I was a Naturalized US Citizen, whatever those documents would be) I would do so. And when I someday move to a different area and need to re-register to vote in that new area I will bring my documents and do so. If it takes an extra step or two to prevent non-citizens from voting and those not registered to vote in my area I will do so. That should be a no-brainer.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 8 months ago

There is no problem to the current Federal or previous Voter Registration form. It requires the citizen's SSN# or Kansas driver's license #, their full name, full address, phone #, date of birth, and their signature that they are a US citizen, with 17 months imprisonment if they commit perjury.

Catalano 4 years, 8 months ago

To answer your stupid question: "Who doesn't have these things or are unable to get copies of them?" here's an example: someone who was born at home by a midwife. This happened a lot back in the day and some of those babies are actually all grown up and still alive today and would like to vote.

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

I know there are things to place for folks like this .... I just Googled it and there are lots of ways to get a No Record of Birth.

Mark Pickerel 4 years, 8 months ago

And I'm sure they can all afford them. It's a poll tax, plain and simple.

appleaday 4 years, 8 months ago

Did you have to show your birth certificate to register to vote?

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

Disenfranchising voters must make the so-called leaders better representatives of the people then? Being allowed to vote surely must be impossible for any illegal since it is impossible for me, an American citizen.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 8 months ago

You assume that all "Americans" have driver's licenses? That's not the case.

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

You can get a state ID if you choose not to have a driver's license or can't get one for other reasons. And it's actually less expensive than a driver's license in Kansas. So Win-Win!

elliottaw 4 years, 8 months ago

A drivers license is not an accepted ID for this.

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

Okay so what if our military chest beaters gave the Iraqi's their first election in Bagdad in 2006. It would have been highly plausible that those voters couldn't find thier birth certificates/photo IDs.

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

An election in Iraq is not an election in the USA. Not the same thing.

verity 4 years, 8 months ago

Maybe I'm missing something here, but if these people are registering to vote at the DMV office, won't they then have a photo driver's license?

I have also never seen a figure on how many of these 15,000 actually presented their birth certificates at the DMV when they registered. Are they being contacted and told their registration is not complete? It anything being done about the glitch? Lots of articles, comments, etc., but I'm not seeing a lot of information that is relevant to the discussion.

I may be wrong, but it seems like two things are being conflated here---photo ID and the completion of voter registration, which are two completely different things.

elliottaw 4 years, 8 months ago

Photo ID has nothing to do with voters effected by this law, and I don't believe that anyone knows the actual number of people who showed their birth certificate but did not have this information forwarded, but it would be people that got their ID since this law went into place, I believe anyone getting a new ID or moving to the state.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

Good questions.

If I had registered at the DMV, I'd assume that it hadn't gone through correctly, and would take steps to make sure I got the correct information to the correct place.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

Are you claiming that my suggestion is stupid?

Why? Knowing about the problems with the system, I'd say it's foolish to assume you're correctly registered. Or to wait for some sort of notification from the state that you're not.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 8 months ago

Too many assumptions, Jafs. If this were some insignificant issue, I might not care very much. But one's right to vote is one of the fundamental issues of our country. One of the very foundations.

I made the assumption that this new system would disenfranchise a very small number, something similar to the numbers of illegal votes cast. Something in the low single digits. Insignificant, statistically speaking. My assumption was wrong and I've changed my mind on this subject, at least until it's proven that all the kinks have been worked out.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

I don't understand how your post responds to mine.

All I suggested was that people should take the initiative to make sure they're registered - given the reporting on this issue, it would be foolish not to, if you want to vote.

verity 4 years, 8 months ago

Not everyone obsessively reads the LJW---and the comments therein. If you had done your part, why would you assume it hadn't gone through unless you were aware of the problem?

That is what I am talking about in terms of how many did present the proper documents and do they know that the process wasn't completed. I haven't seen that information anywhere and it seems to me that is the most vital information.

Also, not everybody can take off work any time to drive to an office and stand in line and then have to do it again.

We all know the intent behind this law and it's not to keep non-citizens from voting. It's to make it so difficult that a certain segment of our citizens will just give up. Then we can call them lazy and say they shouldn't be voting anyway.

It must have been all those illegal voters to blame for Brownback getting into office.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, anybody who is aware of the news reporting at all knows there's a problem.

I suppose there are people who never read a newspaper, listen to a radio news show, or watch tv news. But, I can't imagine there are that many of them.

Yes, it's inconvenient - but, if you want to vote, then it's up to you to do what you can to ensure that happens.

I'm not saying that I approve of what's happened with this nonsense, I'm just saying people should be pro-active and do what they can do, rather than just complaining about it or relying on the state to fix it. Especially if all it takes is to provide the same information to a different office.

Or they can complain and do nothing, and possibly not get to vote.

If it were me, I know which I'd choose - what about you?

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

Weiser...any proof to your claim? I mean, Kobach would inquire.

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

And this concern about fraud...really? As if we don't get enough fraud from our politicians already.

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

So why not put a stop to some of it? Here is your chance and you mock it.

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

Harper vs. Virginia Board of Elections, 1966. For the people.

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

That was about a poll tax, which I agree should be illegal and is not Constitutional.

However, how is making sure only US Citizens can vote and then having to show ID at the polls to prevent voter fraud not proper?

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

You need ID for other things than to vote, cash checks, sometimes to use a credit or debit card, open a bank account, get on an airplane, attend college, if you look young you need ID, to purchase tobacco products or alcohol, to get into some Federal buildings, get a job, get married, apply for government assistance such as food stamps, medicaid and welfare, etc.

And once you have the ID it's a one time charge, not every time you use the ID.

gatekeeper 4 years, 8 months ago

You have to pay to renew that ID every 6 years. It is a poll tax.

I had to take my mother to get an ID card. When she voted, she had to give it to the poll worker, her next door nieghbor of over 30 years. She's been at the same bank just as long, no one ever asks her for ID. Many in my family have no birth certs because they were born on the farm prior to WW2.

In the last decade, there have been TEN (10) verified cases of in person voter fraud NATIONWIDE!!!!! Those that can't win elections based on what they can actually do for the voters will come up with anything they can to supress votes. Are you starting to get it yet, bitter?

Your name says it all, bitterclinger. Try progressing into the 21st century and stop being bitter. Why anyone would want to live in the past is beyond me. Ah, the good old days when you could enslave and hang people, beat your wife, etc.... My elderly mother laughs when people refer to the good old days. All days suck unless you open yourself to new experiences and try to enjoy life. You can't enjoy life if you're bitter and full of hatred.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

Actually, the state of KS offers a free ID, so that's not a good example of a poll tax.

gatekeeper 4 years, 8 months ago

You can only get a free ID is you are already registered to vote and don't have a driver's license. You have to prove you're already registered, then they'll give you a free card. Not registered already, gotta pay for that ID and that is a poll tax.

Andrew Reeves 4 years, 8 months ago

Taxpayers are paying for that "free id"...

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

Elections are also done in business organizations, corporations, etc. Kobach not sniffin' around in case a Hawaiian, for example, is elected a VP or better?

Orwell 4 years, 8 months ago

So now we have the legislature selecting the electorate instead of the other way around. Could anything be more wrong with this picture?

Elected representatives who are anti-democracy are unfit to serve.

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

BitterClinger...maybe we should get out of elections entirely since our governments in both countries are near-mirrors of each other and failing badly. Or can we all use indelible purple ink at the polls?

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

Indelible purple ink, ID at the polls ... much the same idea. So you're now on my side?

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

Apparently Kobach dreamed that only Arizona and Kansas are the whole United States. Not all are born here in Kansas. No photo ID, no birth record. No birth record, no photo ID. Who can say if or when Kobach will add Texas to the union?

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

I noted this in an earlier post here ..... I know there are things to place for folks like this .... I just Googled it and there are lots of ways to get a No Record of Birth.

BitterClinger 4 years, 8 months ago

First off this is a Republic not a Democracy; a nation of laws not majority rules.

I want me and my neighbors to have a stake in who and what issues are being voted on in our town, our state and our country. With no voter ID shown at the poling places, how many folks would know if that really is Joe or Joleen Q Public there to vote that day.

It works both ways. I can't bus in folks that are not registered to vote or not registered to vote in that Precinct or District on Election Day to vote for the issues I want and neither can you.

I'm not always overjoyed with who gets elected or which issues passed either. But that's the great thing about America. You can move to where things are more like you think they should be, you can work to get out the vote on your issue(s) or candidate(s), or you can run for office yourself.

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

Iraq is a Democratic Republic under three branches of government. Either they should be scared or we should be. And who doesn't know how the Iraqi's live and die?

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

Our Democracy came from the Greek's model of democracy. Back in their day each vote was originally cast with either a white or a black stone.

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

BitterClinger, you say you want to have a stake in the issues then do what's always been

IndusRiver 4 years, 8 months ago

It's business owners who bus in the semi-truck loads of illegals, and give them refuge. What is the labor guilty of? They're carried along by the force of circumstances. How about if ALL Americans vote on the same day in the same year and become once more the now -mythicized power of the people?

Kyle Chandler 4 years, 8 months ago

A little perspective- I think id rather share a country with the guy who just crossed a desert on foot to be here than some fat/farting white entitled person. At least the guy that crossed the desert WANTS to work and be a part of this 'great idea' that America was once.

If there were any intelligent life in this state, we'd have the National Guard just remove the entire State House. If you live here, citizen or not, you should be able to vote. Its been that way since the beginning. Plus, all you politicos need someone to take advantage of....and the new arrivals need to realize who the scum really is.......its pretty easy to tell in KS though.

gatekeeper 4 years, 8 months ago

Just read this, bitter, and see why your fears and all the money being wasted on the stupid ID laws is ridiculous.

Full study by the Brennan Center for Justice about voter fraud.

Great article here. As an ex-educator, I really hate to see ignorance when you can be taught facts. Please read and let go of your bitterness. It's not healthy.

Trumbull 4 years, 8 months ago

Is it a "birth certificate" or "a certificate of live birth"?

I remember the later was not good enough for the birthers because it is an electronic copy. A signed birth certificate can actually be quite difficult to get. You are dependent upon the hospital and/or county of birth to have filed correctly.

Wayne Propst 4 years, 8 months ago

Sue(planning commission) and Roger(state senator) Pine committed voter fraud for years.....yet they were never charged....

blindrabbit 4 years, 8 months ago

Often wondered if Pine's moving to Linwood area (Leavenworth County) had a lot to do with Roger Pine's willingness while in the Legislature to build more coal burning power plants in Kansas. For those not familiar with their Douglas County property is was directly down-wind (by a couple of miles) from the air plume coming out of the Lawrence Generating Center. Must have gotten tired of breathing in all of the sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates and mercury contaminants; not even considering the aroma. Oh well, those in the casino business will never notice since those places are full of smoke anyway.

oldbaldguy 4 years, 8 months ago

actually only landowners could vote at the beginning of the Republic. universal sufferage came later. the vote should not be denied on specious grounds. voter fraud in this state is not a problem. i resent having to show an i.d. to vote. i shed blood for this country, mine and the enemy's. these peckerwoods who think we will be overrun by the mexicans at the polls are behind voter registration. it is voter suppression.

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