TOPEKA. Four groups that are part of a Kansas Voter Coalition held a press conference on Wed. at the state capitol to explain why they were against the voter ID bill introduced on Tuesday by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
The Kansas Voter Coalition is made up of several groups, including:
- Kansas State NAACP,
- Kansas State League of Women Voters,
- Kansas Chapter of the National Organization for Women,
- Kansas Equality Coalition,
- Kansas chapter of the ACLU,
- Wichita chapter of Church Women United,
- Sedgwick County Council of Elders, and
- Peace and Social Justice Center.
Kari Ann Rinker from Kansas NOW said the voter id bill would be a burden to women, including single mothers, women of low income, working women, women who are married, women who are divorced.
Rinker said the proposed law was a modern day attempt at voter suppression.
Kansas League of Women Voter‘s President Ernestine Krehbiel said some elderly residents may not have birth certificates because “that was not done at that time.”
Krehbiel said the proposed law is unneeded because in five years there have been 10 million votes cast with only six allegations of voter fraud, and only a single true voter fraud case.
ALCU spokeswoman Holly Weatherford said her organization believes the integrity of the electoral process is of utmost importance. “We don’t know the true nature of the problem here in Kansas,” according to Weatherford. “We question what cost and benefit is this proposed legislation.”
Kevin Myles from the Kansas NAACP said Kobach’s bill was a very sophisticated voter caging bill.
In the question and answer session members of the coalition were asked why there were claims that members of the African-American community were most affected by voter ID legislation. Myles cited a Brown University study that claimed voter turnout among African-Americans dropped 20% when there were voter ID laws.
State Rep. Melody McCray-Miller (D, Topeka) said voter participation had dropped in recent years and claimed that drop disproportionately impacted voters of color.
Myles was asked about the words “radical experiment” used in a Wichita NAACP blog posting:
We just don’t need Secretary Kobach using tax dollars to radically experiment with our electoral system, in an effort to solve a problem that can not be shown to exist.
Myles said the use of word was justified because the new consolidation of powers to prosecute in the Secretary of State’s office independently from the Attorney General was radical in his mind.
State Rep. Ann Mah (D, Topeka) justified the use of “radical” because the bill would give the Secretary of State rule making power, which would usurp the authority of county clerks.
Kansas Watchdog asked several questions related to the approximate 140,000 “inactive” voters in the state with unknown mailing addresses. A voter ID requirement would not solve the problem of voting rolls bloated with a large number of inactive voters due to federal law, but might be a “check and balance” on abuse in using inactive voter lists.
See complete video of the press conference below, including the question and answer period:
Kansas NOW says Kobach’s voter ID bill is burden to women
Kari Ann Rinker, State Coordinator, Kansas NOW
@KansasWatchdog: News conference by Kansas Voter Coalition running a bit late. Meeting room is still in use at the Capitol in Topeka. 1/19/2011 11:40 AM
@KansasWatchdog: Kari Ann Rinker, Kansas NOW says Kobach’s voter ID is a burden to women. She says she’s had 5 different last names. Documentation burden 1/19/2011 11:50 AM
Kansas LWV says Kobach’s voter fraud bill is experiment for another state
Ernestine Krehbiel, President, Kansas League of Women Voters
Tweet: @KansasWatchdog: League of Women Voters rep said Kobach’s voter ID is experiment for another state 1/19/2011 11:54 AM
ACLU says we don’t know true nature of voter fraud problem in Kansas
Holly Weatherford, ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri
Tweet: @KansasWatchdog: ACLU rep says we don’t know true nature of problem. Questions expense. 1/19/2011 11:55 AM
Kansas NAACP says Kobach’s bill is sophisticated voter caging bill
Kevin Myles, President, Kansas State Conference of NAACP Branches
@KansasWatchdog: NAACP rep asks why are we doing this? Voter ID proposal only deals with limited type of voter fraud 1/19/2011 11:58 AM
@KansasWatchdog: NAACP rep explaining voter caging and Kobach’s statement as KS GOP chair 1/19/2011 12:00 PM
@KansasWatchdog: Wichita NAACP: Kobach’s bill is very sophisticated voter caging bill. 1/19/2011 12:01 PM
@KansasWatchdog: Will put video online from Kansas Voter Coalition later. 1/19/2011 12:19 PM
Press release: Regarding the proposed Voter ID bill
Q&A, Part 1. How to block voter ID plan? Inactive voter problem?
Q1 (0:04): How do you plan to block Kobach’s proposal?
Q2 (2:00): What are you going to do to make sure that happens? Do you have a plan?
Q3 (3:34) If it takes two IDs to get a job in the US, why is one ID to vote such a bad thing?
Q4 (5:26) Kansas has about 1.7 million voters. We don’t know the mailing address for about 140,000. One in eight households in the state has someone living there that can vote that doesn’t live there. What can we do to improve that problem with the state voter list?
Q5 (8:06) I still didn’t hear an answer to my question. We have 140,000 voters in Kansas and we don’t now their mailing address .. their district information, yet they can come to vote. Why is there no concern about that?
Q6 was about a discrepancy between one of the press releases and the current mark up of the bill. This was deleted from the video for brevity.
Q7 (11:09) You can use an expired driver’s license …?
Q&A, Part 2. Why African-Americans affected most? Radical bill?
Q8 (0:00) Can you explain why you think African-American citizens would be most affected by voter identification legislation? [State Rep. Melody McCray-Miller joins in the response]
Q9 (3:53) Why were the words “radical experiment” used on the Wichita NAACP web site? What makes this “radical”? [State Rep. Ann Mah joins in the response]
- Kansas Secretary of State Kobach responds to arguments against Voter ID Bill; calls them “ridiculous”, Wichita NAACP blog, Jan. 22, 2011.
- Opposition to Kobach’s voter fraud bill, KSNT, Jan. 19, 2011.
- Kan. NAACP leader worries about elections bill, Topeka Capital-Journal, Jan. 19, 2011.
- Winfield Courier Editorial: Kobach’s voter fraud bill is a power grab, Jan. 19, 2011.
- KC Star Editorial: Dump Kobach’s costly voter-fraud initiative, Kansas City Star, Jan. 19, 2011.
- Secretary of State Kobach introduces voter ID bill (video), Kansas Watchdog, Jan. 19, 2011.
- The Kansas Voter Coalition to hold Press Conference on Jan. 19 at the State Capitol on Voter ID, Wichita NAACP, Jan. 2, 2011.
Contact: Earl F Glynn, email@example.com, KansasWatchdog.org