Archive for Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kansas board OKs 92-year-old’s voter registration

August 27, 2014, 11:24 a.m. Updated August 27, 2014, 1:41 p.m.


— It took action by three of the state's highest-ranking elected officials, but a 92-year-old Johnson County woman has been declared eligible to vote in Kansas.

The State Election Board, which includes the lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general, agreed Wednesday that even though Evelyn Howard of Shawnee could not produce a birth certificate or a passport to prove she is a U.S. citizen, her family bible and some old census records were sufficient for the state.

Howard was initially denied the right to register even though, according to her daughter Marilyn Hopkins, she had voted in Missouri all her adult life.

The State Election Board agreed Wednesday to approve the voter registration of Evelyn Howard, 92, of Shawnee, who was unable to produce a birth certificate, passport or other documents to prove she is a U.S. citizen. The board includes, from left, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

The State Election Board agreed Wednesday to approve the voter registration of Evelyn Howard, 92, of Shawnee, who was unable to produce a birth certificate, passport or other documents to prove she is a U.S. citizen. The board includes, from left, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

According to a letter Hopkins submitted to the board, her mother was born at a midwife's house in Schilling, Minn., on Feb. 9, 1922. After she was delivered, Hopkins wrote, the family "rode home in a horse drawn buggy with temperatures at 57 degrees below 0."

But because she was not born in a hospital, the state of Minnesota did not issue a birth certificate. And because she has never traveled outside the United States, she did not have a passport.

As a result, Hopkins mother became one of an estimated 18,000 Kansas residents whose registrations have been held "in suspense" because they could not comply with the state's new law requiring people registering to vote for the first time in their county to show proof of U.S. citizenship.

"She has always voted," Hopkins said of her mother, speaking by phone from Johnson County. "She feels like that's a responsibility and a duty that she has, and she has taught me in the same way to be a voter all of my years. And now that she has moved to Kansas, this is her first opportunity to vote and we find out she cannot vote because she doesn't have a birth certificate."

But Howard appealed the denial to the Election Board, making her only the third such person to do so since the law took effect last year. Both of the other two appeals also were approved.

In support of her appeal, Howard and her daughter submitted a copy of Howard's Missouri driver's license, a photocopied page from an old family bible listing her date and place of birth, and a hospital certificate of Marilyn's birth which lists Evelyn Howard as her mother, and census records that list Howard living in Missouri.

But even though some of the records were inconsistent — the hospital certificate lists Howard as being born in Lovedale, Minn., instead of Schilling, and the census records list her birthplace as Missouri — the Election Board agreed they were sufficient to show she was born in the U.S. and, thus, qualify her as a citizen.

"As I review the record that's in front of us, I have not observed any documentation submitted to us that is inconsistent with the conclusion that the applicant was born in Minnesota as she claims to have been," Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Schmidt also noted that even though Howard did not have a passport, the documents submitted would be sufficient for her to get one, and therefore should be considered sufficient to meet the Kansas voting requirement.

But the case highlighted the whole issue of the state's proof-of-citizenship requirement, which has become a central issue in this year's race for Secretary of State.

The law was passed at the urging of incumbent Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, who acknowledged it is the central issue in that race where he is being challenged by Democrat Jean Schodorf, a former Republican state senator from Wichita.

"I'm the person who brought the proof-of-citizenship requirement to Kansas law and am implementing it and defending it in court against the Obama administration, and my opponent, she opposes our proof-of-citizenship requirement," Kobach said.

Schodorf has said she thinks the law is unfair because it requires people to prove they are innocent before they are allowed to vote. She has said that if Kobach believes non-citizens are voting illegally, it should be his burden to prove that in court.


Randall Uhrich 3 years, 5 months ago

Good thing she had proof, Kobach. You can't trust those 92-year-old grandmothers not to falsify their identification!

Cille King 3 years, 5 months ago

How much is this law costing Kansans? All the extra staff (county and state level), postage, copies, a board to review 92 year old grandmother's papers, law suites?

"The economy is beginning to turn around, but state budgets are still slim. The past two years have seen massive government employee layoffs and reductions in public services. At the same time, there is an epidemic of voter ID laws sweeping the nation, and the legislators that push them inevitably claim they are necessary to combat “voter fraud.” These laws cost millions of dollars for implementation, free IDs, and voter education. The price tag for photo voter ID is high, and the price to democracy of disenfranchisement is inestimable."

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 5 months ago

Actually, Cillie, it costs ten dollars to get a non-driver photo identification and it is good for six years. Since I don't drive I have had one for some time. You get it at the DVM and it is quick and easy.


Philipp Wannemaker 3 years, 5 months ago

Sorry, Leslie. Info straight from Kansas DMV website. To Apply for a Kansas ID Card If you are a U.S. citizen, you must bring: Proof of identity (e.g., certified U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, or naturalization certificate). Simple and easy huh?

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 5 months ago

Yes, well, I have my birth certificate, plus my receipt from the last time I had my ID renewed, and proof of residence. it takes me about five minutes from the time I walk in the door to the time I leave. Get the new card about two weeks later. They notify me when I need to renew.


Amy Varoli Elliott 3 years, 5 months ago

and without an ID you can't get a birth certificate, its a catch 22

Jay Reynolds 3 years, 5 months ago

Do you have a hospital birth certificate or a county certificate, Leslie? The one most people have is worthless.

James Howlette 3 years, 5 months ago

The lawsuits and processing fees are a lot more than $10, Leslie. They cost us taxpayers money we could be spending on education or health care.

James Howlette 3 years, 5 months ago

Seriously? It's this complicated to let a little old lady vote?

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 5 months ago

Seriously, Sunny Jim? Little old lady? Stereotype much? I may be old, but I ain't no lady and no one puts Leslie in a corner. Ha, ha!!!!! :-)

Cille King 3 years, 5 months ago

Leslie, James is talking about the article - 92 year old having to appear before an election board. Good you had a birth certificate - it can cost $50 or more for some states birth certificates. I've encountered several would-be voters in all our voter registration drives who aren't sure if they still have a birth certificate, or where it might be after several moves.

James Howlette 3 years, 5 months ago

Seriously, Leslie? Why would my comment have been about you?

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 5 months ago

I didn't think it was about me. I just don't like the words in general, and I was trying to make a joke. :-)

My birth certificate was free. I just know about myself and that it has been simple, easy and inexpensive to get and maintain all the ID I need. Since people need to present ID in a number of situations and not only for voting.


James Howlette 3 years, 5 months ago

You might learn something about others if you read the article. She didn't have a birth certificate. At all. Free or otherwise. None. She was born at her midwife's home, and her state did not issue one for non hospital births. Obviously she'd managed to live for 92 years without the need for one. If she'd moved here a year or two earlier, she could have lived her entire life without it being a big deal. You can't assume that your experience is going to be the experience everyone has.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

Never ever believe this right wing Libertarian Party now controlling the statehouse and legislature will give up their agenda of keeping as many voters from the polls as possible. Or will deny some voters upon showing up to vote

One more time…..

Voters ORGANIZING A VOTING DAY PACKET might be a preventive measure that might include:

--- a birth certificate

--- a drivers license or state ID card

--- proof of voter registration etc etc etc.

--- Keep it close by as voting opportunities will occur about 4 times in the next 10 months.

Let's get on with it. Protect YOURSELF from GOP voting fraud on election day.

Vote the Paul Davis/Jill Docking ticket they are going to have a messy house to clean up.

Kansas needs Margie Wakefield in Congress

Chad Taylor for US Senate

Steve King 3 years, 5 months ago

Some people just don't get it. One in particular who appears herein.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 5 months ago

I get it Steve, I really do. For people who are say eighty or older it can be extremely difficult to prove place or birth. I had my purse stolen a few years ago and had to have all my ID replaced. It was hell. Of course, making copies of all of it in case this happens again is useless because the copies won't prove anything.

I would like to say though that is is cheap for an elder to get ID at the DMV. They give you a receipt with your photo on it which does prove who you are, and that should be kept in a safe place in case you need it.

This whole ID thing should be taken seriously. I am so glad I have mine back.


Lynn Grant 3 years, 5 months ago

Krazy Kris Kobach. I am surprised it wasn't a vote of 2--1.

James Howlette 3 years, 5 months ago

Old white people are more likely to vote Republican...

Mike Ford 3 years, 5 months ago

My father had liver failure from an autoimmune disease from November 2004 to the point when he received a liver transplant in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 3, 2009. In December 2008, the protein my father's liver could no longer process protein affecting his thought process and stamina to the point where his driver's license was taken by the State of Kansas. He didn't get his driver's license back until October of 2009. He had no way to get to the DMV with all of us working and he was stuck in Baldwin City. He eventually got a ride and a replacement ID in Ottawa. A Lynn Jenkins supporter and my father got into a debate over this ID issue and it's effect on the elderly and ill in home care and nursing homes and this heartless woman mocked my father's struggle to the point where I had to stand between her and my father. This is what the Kansas GOP has stooped to. Going after elderly voters to scare minorities out of voting for people other than the GOP. Please fire them Kansas voters.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 5 months ago

Ok, it is my belief that when and elderly person can no longer drive, the state should automatically send them another form of ID at no expense to them. They already have their picture so that should be no problem.

There should be a competent outreach program for the very elderly to make sure they are taken care of in this respect.

Every time I go to the hospital for anything I have to show photo ID. Just wondering how others who don't have it work around this.

Mike, if this had been me and someone mocked me, my daughter would have punched her. Or I would have. It is unforgivable that your father had to go though that. I do have it pretty darned good in my life, so sometimes I forget about the struggles that others face. Thanks to all for reminding.


Jim Slade 3 years, 5 months ago

You are not required to show ID. They ask for it, and you supply it, but they are not going to deny you care if you don't have it.

Mike Ford 3 years, 5 months ago

my father is a retired minister and this woman still mocked him. priceless.

Stuart Sweeney 3 years, 5 months ago

If the other 18,000 would appeal it would keep this band of merrymen busy and they would not have time to cause anymore chaos in Kansas.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 5 months ago

It might have been quicker to prove the woman was not an immigrant. Hmmm. Would that approach work for all 18,000 voters in limbo?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 5 months ago

This law is unconstitutional. Basically this woman was considered to be guilty of not being a citizen until she proved that she was innocent. And the fact that she has been voting for 70 years in Missouri should have been the only evidence Kobach needed. This was a total waste of time and money on the part of the government and the poor relative who had to deal with it. I hope she and all her relatives vote against Kobach.

Steve King 3 years, 5 months ago

Leslie, if you really think having 18,000 voters in limbo because of proven voter fraud of seven decimal places is a good, you're part of this problem. You must be one of those voting in people like Sam and Kris. You don't see it? You don't understand the real GOPTP agenda? You don't see through the shenigangians of Sam putting his buddy on the SC bench after only 9 months of bench experience? Then definitely if you support these underhanded moves, you're part of the problem.

18,000 people can't vote because of 5 instances in 1.7 million votes. Ballots have been discarded. You can't seriously support this. Call about 500 and personally tell them you don't trust them.

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