It’s rare to see a sane story in today’s day and age – but Kansas is going against the grain, and ignoring the many non-sensical arguments against voter ID in an attempt to revive it.
We’ve all heard the tired old argument trotted out that voter ID laws are racist because certain minority demographics are less likely to possess a photo ID. It seems condescending to argue that minorities are incapable of obtaining IDs on their own if they want to vote – and as it turns out, they are indeed capable (no surprise there). A study from Enrico Cantoni at the University of Bologna and Vincent Pons at Harvard Business School, found that voter ID laws don’t decrease voter turnout, including that of minority voters, though they also did argue that voter ID isn’t effective in reducing voter fraud. Regardless, if researchers who oppose voter ID couldn’t find any evidence that it’s racist – it probably isn’t.
According to the Associated Press:
Kansas’ solicitor general on Monday called on a federal appeals court to reinstate the state’s law requiring people to provide proof of citizenship before they can register to vote, saying problems with how it was enforced during the three years it was in place are fixable.
Among the “problems” cited is that Kansas’ criteria for acceptable documentation were admittedly strict – requiring a birth certificate, passport, or naturalization papers before one could register to vote. While 35 states currently have voter ID laws, none were as strict in what documentation they allowed as Kansas. Regardless, this is the “fixable” problem Kansas’ solicitor general would like to correct in reinstituting voter ID.
The registration law took effect in January 2013. In the three years before the appellate court put it on hold, more than 30,732 Kansans were not allowed to register to vote because they did not submit proof of citizenship. That figure represented about 12 percent of voter registration applications.
Kansas voter ID law was temporarily blocked by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016, and then was struck down in an appellate court. Modeling Kansas’ voter ID laws after other states that have avoided such legal challenges would allow them to avoid a similar roadblock.
Requiring a birth certificate may be a bit much – but most states with voter ID laws offer their citizens the ability to obtain a photo ID for free, which should squash any concerns about voter disenfranchisement.
I still can’t figure out if liberals are angry that people need an ID to vote – or if liberals are angry that people need to be citizens to vote.