Some experts say a federal appeals court decision overturning Texas’ voter identification law could open a new legal front to challenge Kansas requirements, but Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he thinks the voter ID law he wrote will stand up to court scrutiny. Voting-rights organizations are projecting national implications from a decision handed down Wednesday by judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The judges ruled that Texas’ requirement for voters to show photo ID when casting a ballot has the effect of discriminating against minority voters in violation of Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act. The judges sent the case back to a lower court for consideration of remedies to fix the discriminatory effect and possibly make further findings on whether Texas intended to infringe on minority voters’ rights when it passed its photo-ID law.
Like Texas, Kansas requires voters to present a government-issued photo ID to prove their identity when they vote at the polls. The Texas law is somewhat stricter in what documents can be used as photo ID, and Kobach said he thinks that difference will let Kansas law stand where Texas law fell.
“The Texas law only has a very narrow range of accepted ID, in contrast with Kansas, where we have about a dozen,” Kobach said. In fact, he said, he expects the remedy for the Texas law “will probably look more like the Kansas law.”