Fighting Voter Suppression in Kansas

Kansas has passed legislation called the Secure and Fair Elections Act, also known as the Voter ID Law, which requires proof of citizenship (a birth certificate) upon registration and a state issued ID with the voter’s current name and address on the card at the time of voting.

This legislation comes directly from the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that provides lawmakers with model legislation drafted to promote corporate interests. ALEC has been pushing for voter ID bills in multiple states across the nation.

“Our leverage goes up when voter participation goes down.” – ALEC President

The Voter ID Law functionally suppresses voting among impoverished communities, as well as among students and women. These are the people least likely to have a copy of their birth certificate and a state-issued ID with current name and address.

Birth certificates and ID’s cost money and many of our poorest citizens do not have these documents. College students who attend school in Kansas will also have to obtain a Kansas state-issued ID, as their student IDs and out-of-state licenses will not be accepted. Married women will not be able to use their IDs if the document has their maiden name on it.

The SAFE Act will make it nearly impossible to perform traditional get-out-the-vote campaigns or voter registration drives; Only those who have their birth certificates on hand can be registered and any individual registering voters will be required to have a photocopier on hand to do so.

The Voter ID Law was passed under the guise of protecting the election process from voter fraud. However, since the early 1990s, Kansas has had one case of voter fraud. That is one case out of ten million votes cast.

“You have a better chance of being struck by lightning twice in one day than you do of committing voter fraud in the state of Kansas.” – Louis Goseland with the KanVote Coalition

So what then, is the justification for the Voter ID Law in Kansas?

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