Kobach: Kansas voter ID law will withstand legal scrutiny - KCTV5

Kobach: Kansas voter ID law will withstand legal scrutiny

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TOPEKA, KS (KCTV/AP) -

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Monday that he is confident that a new Kansas law requiring voters to show photo identification will withstand court scrutiny.

An election in Roeland Park last month was the first to test Kansas' law.

"It is working very well," Kobach said. "They cannot unilaterally stop Kansas from moving forward."

But Gary Brunk, executive director of the Kansas City area chapter of the ACLU, said these laws will make it harder for millions of Americans to vote.

The U.S. Justice Department is objecting to voter identification laws in Texas and South Carolina. Those two states are covered by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The law covered Southern states that had systematically disenfranchised African-American voters.

Kansas is not covered by the nearly 50-year-old act and would not face scrutiny from the federal government like Texas is.

A photo ID requirement for voters in Texas could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of registered Hispanics, the Justice Department declared Monday in its latest move against Republican-led voting changes in many states that have drawn protests from minorities, poor people and students.

The Justice Department's objection means that now a federal court in Washington will decide whether Texas, as well as South Carolina, will be allowed to enforce its new voter photo ID requirements. The Justice Department's move merely blocked a Texas law until the court rules.

Other states have similar laws and more are moving toward them as advocates portray the restrictions as needed to combat voter fraud.

Since the beginning of the 2011 legislative session, eight states have passed photo ID laws: Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Rhode Island. All but two were enacted by Republican legislatures and Republican governors.

Mississippi's law was passed by voter referendum placed on the ballot by a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. Rhode Island's law was enacted by a Democratic legislature and an independent governor.

This year, the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly and Senate passed a voter ID measure, which Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to sign. In Pennsylvania, the Republican-controlled House debated a photo ID measure on Monday; if it is approved, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to sign it.

Kobach said he and others in Kansas are now working with leaders in other states to pass similar laws that will pass legal muster.

"The system is really designed to ensure that it's easy to vote and hard to cheat and I think we accomplished that," Kobach said.

To read more about the Texas law and the Justice Department's objections, click here.

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