An election law written by Secretary of State Kris Kobach that requires photo identification to vote and other restrictions is raising new concerns about absentee voting. Under the law, county election officials must decide whether the signature on a request for an advance ballot matches the person’s previous signature that could be on a voter registration form or another type of identification. If it doesn’t, the election official must make an effort to contact that person to give them another attempt at signing the application.
But Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, said the law and its accompanying rules and regulations failed to prescribe how much of an effort the county election official must make to track down the potential voter and clear up the dispute. “This gives a lot of leeway to the election officer,” Trimmer said. He said many times, people who request advance ballots will be difficult to reach because they requested an advance ballot knowing they would be elsewhere around the time of the election.
Legislators said there could be good reasons that a person’s signature requesting an advance ballot looks different from a previous signature. The person’s ability to sign their name could be affected by age or illness, they said.
But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who pushed for the new law, said he believed Kansas’ county election officers would make a good faith effort to ensure those who are eligible to vote will receive an advance ballot.
Rep. Valdenia Winn, D-Kansas City, however, wasn’t assured. “My level of discomfort is getting higher and higher,” Winn said.
Full Article: Absentee voting concerns raised under new law / LJWorld.com.