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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • NYU study: Voter ID laws could affect Kan. voters

  •      Thousands of potential voters in Kansas and nine other states may encounter trouble obtaining required government-issued photo identification, according to a new study from New York University School of Law.


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  •      Thousands of potential voters in Kansas and nine other states may encounter trouble obtaining required government-issued photo identification, according to a new study from New York University School of Law.
         The study, which was released Wednesday by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law said hundreds of thousands of voters with "unprecedented restrictive voter ID laws" will have trouble because they don't have access to a vehicle and live more than 10 miles from an office that issues state IDs and is open more than two days a week, The Lawrence Journal World reported.
         Registered voters in Kansas who don't have a photo ID can get a free one from the Division of Motor Vehicles if they have proof of identity and residence. People who don't have proof of identity but were born in Kansas can get a free birth certificate.
         The report also said, however, that downtown Wichita has only one office to serve 160,700 eligible voters — eight times the customer base of an average office statewide, which makes for long waits to get the free voter ID.
         There are also 7,373 voting-age Kansans who don't have a vehicle and live more than 10 miles away from offices where they can get state-issued IDs, according to the report.
         "This report conclusively demonstrates that this promise of free voter ID is a mirage," said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center.
         "In the real world, poor voters find shuttered offices, long drives without cars, and with spotty or no bus service, and sometimes prohibitive costs. For these Americans, the promise of our democracy is tangibly distant. It can be measured in miles," he said.
         Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, promoted passage of the voter ID law, saying it would prevent voter fraud and keep illegal immigrants from voting.
         Kobach dismisses the Brennan Center's concerns. He said the state has conducted several local elections since January with more than 68,000 voters participating. Kobach said only 84 voters failed to present a photo ID, most of which either forgot or chose not to bring one. Those voters were allowed to cast a provisional ballot.
         "We have actual statistics in Kansas and the figures tell a different story," Kobach said Friday.

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