|KRIS W. KOBACH
Secretary of State
STATE OF KANSAS
|Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1594
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
V. Kay Curtis, Public Affairs Director
Kansas Secretary of State
(785) 296-4580 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach Introduces the Kansas Secure and Fair Elections (S.A.F.E.) Act
TOPEKA (Jan. 18, 2011) – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach today announced the introduction of a House Bill designed to prevent voter fraud in Kansas and to secure the integrity of Kansas elections.
The Secure and Fair Elections (S.A.F.E.) Act will introduce photo-I.D. requirements for Kansas elections. Voters voting in person at the polls will be required to produce a government-issued photo I.D. confirming their identity. In most cases this will be a driver’s license or non-driver’s identification card. A Kansan who cannot afford to pay for a Kansas non-driver’s identification card may receive one at no cost under this law. Those voters who are 65 years of age or older may present photo identification that has expired.
A registered voter applying for a mail-in ballot must provide either the voter’s Kansas driver’s license number, or the voter’s non-driver’s identification card number, or a photocopy of a current photographic identification document. No advance voting ballot may be mailed unless the voter’s signature on the absentee ballot request matches that on file in the county voter registration records.
The S.A.F.E. Act will also tighten up voter registration by requiring newly-registered voters to provide evidence of United States citizenship. People who are registered to vote when the bill becomes law will not have to resubmit evidence of citizenship.
The proposed legislation strengthens the penalties for voting without being qualified, voting more than once at the same election, election tampering, false impersonation of a voter, and illegal handling of advance voting ballots. Additionally, it ensures that allegations of unlawful conduct affecting elections will be investigated and, if warranted, will be prosecuted.
“Election crimes have been documented across the state of Kansas, but very little has been done to rectify the situation,” said Secretary of State Kobach. “The time has come to secure the integrity of Kansas elections. After this bill is passed, Kansas will stand head and shoulders above the other 49 states in ensuring that elections are fair.”
“This legislation strengthens the ability of the attorney general’s office to prosecute cases when credible evidence exists that voter fraud has occurred,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “My office is committed to enforcing the law and doing our part to protect the integrity of our election system. I have supported similar legislative efforts in the past and hope this is the year reforms can become law.”
Said State Representative Lance Kinzer, one of the chief co-sponsors of the legislation: “It just makes sense to verify that a person is a U.S. citizen who is eligible to vote, and is who he says he is, before adding him to the voter rolls. These common sense measures will ensure that those legally eligible and properly registered to vote are not disenfranchised by the fraudulent practices of others.”
Kobach also announced the creation of a voter fraud reporting page on the Secretary of State’s website, as well as the creation of a Stop Voter Fraud hotline. Witnesses to questionable election activities may report them to the Secretary of State by filling out the Stop Voter Fraud form at www.sos.ks.gov or the Stop Voter Fraud hotline at (800) 262-8683.