A recent article from KansasReporter.org described the situation of 50 residents at Westview Manor, a Kansas adult care facility. Due to the state’s new voter identification requirements, the vast majority could be unable to vote in this year’s election.
Only 9 residents have current ID cards and just two have birth certificates that can be used to obtain an ID card. That leaves more than 35 currently registered voters without sufficient ID. Without identification, these individuals will be unable to cast a ballot.
The Executive Director of the Westview Manor noted that the residents “don’t go shopping on the Internet. They don’t use credit cards. They don’t have drivers’ licenses. They have $62 a month spending money, which makes it very difficult to spend $27 for birth certificate.”
Westview Manor residents aren’t the only ones who will be left out if they cannot get ID. In addition to the elderly, minorities, young people, and low-income voters are also less likely to have the necessary ID.
Kansas’ ID requirement is new this year and was passed by the state legislature in 2011. Starting January 1, 2013, voters will also be required to prove citizenship before registering to vote. However, the Kansas Secretary of State is asking legislators to move up the implementation date to June 15.
Nearly 149,000 new Kansas voters registered in the four months preceding the 2008 presidential election, and 6,200 new voters registered each month in 2011, according to election statistics from the Secretary of State’s office. We’ll have to wait and see how the new ID requirements affect the 2012 registration and turnout statistics.