Kansas’ first statewide test of its new voter ID requirements is Tuesday, and supporters and opponents of the provisions are eagerly awaiting the results. Backers of the new requirements say the change will enhance security; opponents say the changes will keep an unknown number of legitimate voters from exercising rights guaranteed by the U.S. and Kansas constitutions. Pennsylvania and 28 other states with voter ID requirements are having similar debates. In Kansas, however, some Republicans speak as critically of the conservative Republican plan as do their Democratic opponents. About 250,000 voters in Kansas are expected to head to polling sites in churches, schools, community halls and other public buildings throughout the state to choose candidates for Congress, the state Legislature, the state board of education and numerous local offices. For the first time, people will present show photo identification before they can vote, even if the poll workers are friends or neighbors.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, and other backers of the change say requiring the photo IDs will help prevent fraud, even though specific incidents of such abuses are hard to identify, so to speak. Opponents say the requirement will keep legitimate voters from the polls, especially older people, poor people and people of color. Finding specific incidents is, again, difficult.
Rochelle Chronister of Neodesha, is a former Kansas Republican chair and state representative. Chronister, who leads a group of 50 former lawmakers called Traditional Republicans for Common Sense, says she fears the ID law will dampen voter turnout. “One of my concerns is that a lot of older people without drivers licenses or other IDs won’t be able to vote when they get to the polls,” Chronister said. “Our older folks are our most faithful voters, and I am very disappointed we have this law that we do not need.”
Full Article: KS: Some GOP members wary of voter ID rules.