Gov. rejects voter ID bill
Topeka ? Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday vetoed legislation that would have required Kansans to show photograph identification and a signature to vote.
The voter ID bill was touted by supporters as a way to prevent voter fraud.
“When we require a photo ID for purchasing alcohol or cigarettes, getting on a plane, writing or cashing a check, or even renting a video, similar ID safeguards are reasonable to protect the integrity of something as important as our election system,” said state Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler.
But Sebelius said there were no instances of voter fraud in Kansas, making the measure unnecessary and adding a burden to some citizens in exercising their right to vote.
It is unlikely that supporters of the bill could get the necessary two-thirds majorities to override the veto because the measure was approved in the House 67-56.
The Kansas Republican Party said exemptions to the photo requirement in the bill would have ensured people’s access to voting.
But Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said it would have caused problems because proposed exemptions – for people 65 or older, with a temporary or permanent disability or members of the military – would have been difficult to check. And there have been no documented cases of significant voter fraud, he said.
Kansas law already requires people new to a county to show identification.
The bill vetoed by Sebelius also would have set the 2012 presidential preference primary in Kansas for the first Saturday in February. The governor supports that move and urged the Legislature to readopt the provision next year.
Meanwhile, Sebelius signed into law bills that will:
¢ Increase school funding by $37.2 million.
¢ Expand eligibility for HealthWave.
¢ Increase campaign finance disclosure.
¢ Allow an electric utility to recover expenditures for development of a new nuclear plant.