“This is a modest, prudent measure. You show photo ID to cash a check, you show one to get on a plane, it’s something people are used to doing." So said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback after signing a law last week requiring voters to present photo IDs when they vote. “It’s a modest and important measure to ensure the sanctity of the vote," he said of the law which is aimed at combatting voter fraud.
CNS News has more details about the controversial law, which the American Civil Rights Union (ACLU) called "a giant leap backwards."
The new Kansas law requires photo ID from all in-person voters at every election. People submitting mail-in ballots must include either a copy of their photo ID or the number from the photo ID card. The law also requires proof of citizenship – a birth certificate, for example -- for new voters who register on or after Jan. 1, 2013.
The ACLU complains that the new law offers free birth certificates only to Kansas-born residents, while residents born out-of-state "would bear the financial burden and trouble of contacting their home states to attain birth certificates" to meet the new law's requirements. "The costs associated with meeting the new law's requirements are especially burdensome to low-income voters," the ACLU added.
The group says Kansas' new voter ID law undermines efforts to expand the right to vote to "historically marginalized groups" such as racial minorities, low-income voters, the disabled, and senior citizens. It also rejects the argument that a photo ID will bar illegal immigrants from voting in Kansas. It says there is no evidence of rampant voter fraud.