Minority leaders in Kansas and other voting rights advocates are pushing for passage of a bill this year that they say would dramatically increase voter turnout by allowing people to register to vote on Election Day and still have their vote counted. “Same-day registration” is already allowed in 10 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Hawaii will become the 11th state in 2018. “We really believe everybody should have access to voting anytime, not just a few days out of the year. As long as they come with ID, why shouldn’t they be able to vote?” said Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, who recently introduced a same-day registration bill in the House. Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, is sponsoring a same-day voter registration bill that would allow people to register to vote on Election Day. Supporters argue that it would increase voter turnout, especially among young and minority voters. But some skeptics fear it could open the door to widespread voting fraud.
That idea was among the top priorities listed for the 2016 session when the Kansas Black Leadership Council held its statewide convention in Topeka in November. Under current Kansas law, voters must be registered at least 21 days before an election.
Finney’s bill would change that by allowing voters to go to their county election office or any advance voting satellite office within 20 days before an election, or to their local polling place on Election Day, and cast a ballot at the same time they register.
Those ballots would be held separate and would not be counted until the county election officers verify that the information submitted is accurate, and that the voter has not already cast a ballot in the same election anywhere else. Those voters also would still have to comply with state laws requiring a photo ID and proof of U.S. citizenship.