By Earl Glynn | Kansas Watchdog LEAVENWORTH — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach completed an eleven-city tour of Kansas on Thursday in which he presented an overview of the new Secure and Fair Elections Act.
In these public meetings Kobach discussed photo identification, proof of U.S. citizenship and answered questions from the public about voting and elections
Kobach said the objective was simple: “Keep it easy to vote, but make it hard to cheat.”
Previous stops on this tour included Chanute, Colby, Hays, Hutchinson, Garden City, Manhattan, Overland Park, Pittsburg, Salina, Wichita. The meetings took place from May 24 through June 14.
Kansas Elections Director Brad Bryant assisted Kobach in the discussion of the SAFE Act.
County Clerk Janet Klasinski joined Kobach and Bryant to explain voting aspects local to Leavenworth County.
Kobach and Bryant said overall the reaction from the public at the meetings was positive. However, Bryant said some attending the Wichita meeting constantly interrupted the presentation and at times it was “hard to complete a sentence.”
The left-leaning Wichita Peace and Freedom Party Examiner published an article about the Wichita meeting: Kobach gets grilled over his anti-immigrant voter fraud bill. The article said several members of Occupy Wichita attended the meeting and voiced opposition to the SAFE Act.
Outline of Video
00:06 Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach introduces Kansas Elections Director Brad Bryant and Leavenworth County Clerk Janet Klasinski.
00:37 Kobach explains purpose of meeting: overview of Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act.
Kobach says Kansas is the first state to do all three of the following:
- Photo ID at the polling place
- Equivalent protection for mail-in ballots
- Proof of citizenship when first register to vote
02:19 Kobach says 53 local and county jurisdictions have already held elections under new photo ID rule. Kobach says 68,047 ballots cast requiring a photo ID and only 84 people failed to present a photo ID as required. Kobach says this is slightly more than 0.1 of 1%. Kobach says research of those 84 voters indicated most had drivers’ licenses. Kobach said these 84 were given provisional ballots and they had several days to obtain a valid photo ID if they did not have one.
4:00 Kobach says a number of other states copied various provisions of the new Kansas voting laws. Kobach: “I think we’ve established a model for the rest of the country.”
6:00 Kansas Elections Director Brand Bryant explains the various type of valid photo IDs that may be used for voting and exceptions under the law.
- Kansas driver’s license from Dept. of Motor Vehicles
- Non-driver ID card also from DMV (free if obtained for voting)
- Concealed carry license
- Government ID or government employee Badge (municipal, county, state, federal). Also includes school districts, student and employee IDs.
- Military ID or retired military ID
- Student IDs issued by accredited colleges and universities
- Public assistance ID card (not issued in Kansas currently but issued by some other states)
- ID card issued by Indian Tribe recognized by the Federal Government [new in 2012]
9:00 Kobach explains if 65 or over, an expired photo ID can be used. Kobach says photo IDs without expiration dates can be used at anytime, e.g., an old college photo ID. Kobach: “The law is very permissive that way.”
9:54 Kobach explains exemptions from photo ID requirement:
- Persons with religious objections
- Voters on permanent advance voting list because of disabilities
- Military or overseas voters covered under federal law
- Mail ballot “question” elections, e.g., school district bond elections
11:43 Kobach: Citizenship component of the law not in effect until 2013.
11:54 Bryant explains list of 13 documents for proof of citizenship and emphasizes this is only a requirement for those registered to vote for the first time.
14:32 Bryant reviews TV and radio ads as part of voter education campaign that will appear in Kansas four weeks before the August primary and four weeks before the November general election to explain the changes in the law. Web site for information: GotVoterID.com. Phone number for information: 800-262-VOTE.
Questions and Answers. Paraphrased versions of the questions and answers are shown below. Watch video for unabridged versions.
22:40 Kobach starts Q&A part of meeting.
22:47 Quesion 1: After a provisional ballot is cast without photo ID card, what happens if the voter returns that day with a valid photo ID?
Answer 1: Kobach and Bryant explain in that case the photo ID would need to be taken to county clerk for verification, not the polling place, once the provisional ballot is cast.
24:18 Question 2: What happens if address on driver’s license does not match address in poll book?
Answer 2: Poll workers are only concerned about identify match, not an address match. The address in poll book is used for voting purposes.
26:09 Question 3: What do you tell people who say ‘I’ve never brought my photo ID before’?
Answer 3: Kobach: “Politely ask them to provide one now … the public attitude has been really positive.”
27:30 Question 4: How’s the experience going with nursing homes?
Answer 4: Kobach: Non-driver ID is free from the state.
Some nursing home occupants may be on the permanent advance voting list. Voters on this list are exempt from needing an ID.
Bryant: With help from groups such as the Dept. of Aging, the Secretary of State’s Office will be providing information to nursing homes, assisted living centers, and long-term care facilities about the change.
29:42 Question 5: What are the time limitations in getting a photo ID? Is there any way to get a photo ID if you’re in a wheelchair?
Answer 5: There is no limitation on when the free ID can be obtained. The Photo ID can be obtained after registration has closed for an election, on the day of the election, or even after voting on a provisional ballot.
Most nursing homes have some sort of transportation for residents. In extraordinary circumstances services of the Secretary of State’s office may be available.
31:21 Question 6: For some in nursing homes wouldn’t it be better to move them to the permanent advance voting list?
Answer 6: Kobach: It is an easy way but some may still want to vote in person.
County Clerk Klasinski explains measures already underway in Leavenworth County to help nursing homes comply with the new law
Bryant adds some additional information about a mobile polling station where a special election board can assist residents of a nursing home before election day.
34:07 Question 7: Why the restriction that a credit card could not be used for an ID?
Answer 7: Kobach: All the allowed IDs are from government agencies (except IDs from private, accredited colleges). “There is some level of confidence” with such government IDs.
35:12 Question 8: What about elderly people with dementia? My perception is the spouse or guardian is voting twice.
Answer 8: Kobach: SAFE act does not address that issue. A recent Kansas Constitutional Amendment protected the right of people with mental disabilities to vote.
39:09 Question 9: What training do election workers receive to validate an ID?
Answer 9: Poll workers do get training. For example, poll workers are given instructions on what to do if a photo ID is badly worn and the picture is difficult to recognize. ”There are backup options.” Ultimately the poll worker has the ability to exercise judgment and tell someone an ID does not appear to be that person.
PowerPoint Slides from Leavenworth Public Meeting about Voter ID
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Links to materials mentioned in PowerPoint:
- Lions and Tigers and Fraud, Oh My! Secretary of State Kris Kobach Is at It Again, Huffington Post The Blog, June 14, 2011.
- The Case for Voter ID, Kris Kobach in the Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2011.
- Kris Kobach discusses voter photo ID in Kansas (video), Kansas Watchdog, April 3, 2012.
- Technical Analysis of Kansas Voter Registration Data, Franklin Center Computer Assisted Reporting blog, March 21, 2012.
- Groups speak against Kobach’s voter ID bill (video), Kansas Watchdog, Jan. 20, 2011.
- Secretary of State Kobach introduces voter ID bill (video), Kansas Watchdog, Jan. 19, 2011.
- Dead voters in Kansas?, Kansas Watchdog, Oct. 28, 2010.
- Six Kansas counties have more voters than census voting population, Kansas Watchdog, Oct. 26, 2010. [Note: Updated analysis indicates there were 7 counties.]
- Kansas has almost 138,000 inactive voters, Kansas Watchdog, Oct. 25, 2010.
- ‘Yes on 2′ rally in Overland Park supports voting rights for mentally ill, Kansas Watchdog, Oct. 15, 2010.
Contact: Earl F Glynn, email@example.com, KansasWatchdog.org
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