Voter ID requirement up for consideration in Legislature

? Legislation headed for full Senate consideration would require that voters show identification at the polls or when getting an advance ballot. The ID would not have to have a photograph of the person.

The law already requires people new to a county to show ID, but Senate Bill 267 would require voters to show ID every time they voted.

An acceptable identification would be a driver’s license, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government document — something that has the voter’s name and address.

Last year, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a photo ID bill. She said there was no reason for the bill because there had been no instances of voter fraud in the state. Kansas Republicans have long called for such a requirement.

When SB 267 was in committee last week, several people called for the photo ID requirement.

Paul Degener, of Topeka, president of Citizens Against Illegal Immigration, said anyone could easily get a nonphoto ID. “If you don’t mind Dumpster diving, I think you can find a utility bill,” he said.

He said voters should have to show a photo ID or possibly a birth certificate when they vote.

Degener said he became engaged in the issue when he watched what he said were “illegal aliens” being encouraged to vote at a rally at the Capitol in 2006. “This is the United States of America, not Mexico, and only U.S. citizens should vote,” Degener said.

Tom Stoffors, of Tonganoxie, with November Patriots, said fraud at the ballot box is a problem despite what Sebelius said. “You’d have to be naive or just not willing to look at this to think this is not a problem,” he said.

Michael Byington, with the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, said he believed the identification requirement will result in some legitimate voters being refused the right to vote. But, he said, SB 267 is better than one requiring a photo ID.

“We’re not crazy about this, but if you do one, do this one,” Byington said.