Kobach says Wisconsin voter ID ruling will have no impact on Kansas
Topeka ? Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Wednesday said a federal court ruling in Wisconsin, which struck down that state’s voter identification law, should have no impact on Kansas’ law.
“I don’t think it will have any effect,” said Kobach, a Republican who is a strong advocate of laws requiring photo ID to vote and proof of citizenship to register to vote.
In Wisconsin, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman said that state’s photo ID law imposed an unfair burden on poor and minority voters.
Because low-income and minority voters weren’t as likely to have photo IDs or the documents needed to get them, the law violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, Adelman said.
When the ruling came down, reports said the decision could set a precedent for legal challenges to similar laws, including the one in Kansas.
But Kobach said the Kansas law, which he proposed and helped pass, accepts a wider range of photo IDs for voting than the Wisconsin law. These include student IDs, federal non-military IDs, military veterans IDs, local government IDs, technical college IDs, and any qualifying photo ID that has expired if a person is over 65.
In addition, Kobach said the judge’s decision in Wisconsin was based on speculation on the impact of voter ID in that state, since the law has never been tested during an election.
In Kansas, the voter ID law was in effect during the 2012 election.
Kobach said during that election, 838 people did not present a photo ID on Election Day. Later, 306 of those came back to provide ID. Of the remaining 532, Kobach said his office found only two people who did not have a photo ID.
In Kansas, residents of a retirement home challenged the voter ID law, but last week they dropped their lawsuit because they said the case would not be heard before this year’s elections, and they found requests for personal information too intrusive.