Photo: New law now requires all Kansas voters to show a photo ID prior to voting
Last week, Republican Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill that now requires all Kansas voters to show a photo ID prior to voting, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is speaking out against it.
While Gov. Brownback said the new law establishes “reasonable steps” to protect citizens’ rights, the ACLU claims it is a “giant leap backwards.”
To vote at elections in the state, voters must present an photo ID. For those submitting mail-in ballots, a copy of the person’s ID or the number must be included. Also, proof of citizenship will be required for voters who register on or after January 1, 2013.
The ACLU is angered that the new law offers free birth certificates only to Kansas-born residents, while residents born outside the state “would bear the financial burden and trouble of contacting their home states to attain birth certificates” in order to meet the new law’s terms. Adding, “the costs associated with meeting the new law’s requirements are especially burdensome to low-income voters.”
In the 2010 general election, only 41 percent of eligible people voted, and percent that the ACLU said must have been “too high” for Republicans.
“Theirs is an extremely nearsighted view of just how difficult it will be for remote, marginalized, and under-resourced individuals to obtain a valid photo ID and evidence of citizenship,” the ACLU expressed.
However, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the governor have said they prefer a system where voting rights are secured “by jumping through hoops,” and says the state has done more “to secure the integrity of the voting process” than any other state.
The ACLU says an additional 32 state legislatures have introduced similar bills.