What is it about voter integrity laws that get Democrats so nervous? Why do they think their constituents will be disproportionately affected by the simple requirements of proof of citizenship and picture IDs?
Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, appeared before the KS House Elections Committee, Monday, in the first leg of a three-day tour to update lawmakers and the public on the photo ID voting laws he spearheaded. A Democrat legislator from Topeka, Ann Mah, was harshly critical of of the new regulations in the the S.A.F.E. Act, which was passed in the Kansas Senate, last March with a large bi-partisan majority (36-3).
CJ Online reported on the the Clash between Kobach and Mah.
On Monday, she asked Kobach if there would be any provisions for determining the number of voters rejected for not having a valid photo ID.
Mah said she expects the 41 instances of possible fraud Kobach said he uncovered in the 2010 election will “pale in comparison” to the number of legal voters turned away with a provisional ballot.
“It’s gonna be way out of whack,” Mah said. “That’s my guess. I’d be willing to put a $5 bill down on it, but in November we’ll be able to see the data if we capture the data and do the analysis on it.”
Kobach said there’s nothing in the regulations that requires that, but his office is collecting the data anyway.
The new law that Kobach wants moved up is the one that requires people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship. It is scheduled to take effect in January 2013, and Kobach wants to make it effective June 15.
Kobach said the first test of the photo ID law, a local election in Cimarron, was wildly successful. He said voter turnout was nearly 40 percent and of the almost 500 people who showed up to vote, only one did not have a photo ID. Kobach said that woman intentionally did not bring her ID to “make a statement” about her opposition to the requirement.
Rep. Melody McCray-Miller, D-Wichita, asked Kobach if Cimarron was a valid “test run” given that historically the groups most disenfranchised by voting laws are racial and ethnic minorities.
“Cimarron does not look like Wichita and it certainly doesn’t look like Kansas City, Kansas, and I know it doesn’t look like Hutchinson,” McCray-Miller said.
According to the 2010 census, 84 percent of Gray County residents are white and non-Hispanic, versus 78 percent throughout the state. The largest disparity between the county and the state comes in its African-American population, which is 0.4 percent compared to 5.9 percent throughout the state.
The argument coming from Democrats really seems to be that minorities are not as capable as whites at getting picture I.D.s. If I were a minority, I think I’d be insulted. While Democrats worry about hypothetical disenfranchisement, real cases of voter fraud in the state go unprosecuted.
Mah said she wanted to talk more in the future about the 41 allegedly fraudulent votes in 2010, which she said included double-voting by “snowbirds” and felons who may have regained their voting rights.
Kobach said he referred all 41 cases to prosecutors, but none have been acted on yet.
“For whatever reason it often gets put to the bottom of the stack,” he said. “I hope that all 41 are (prosecuted), but at this point it has not happened.”