Kobach: Kansas ID law not being reviewed
The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing new voter-photo ID laws in some states, but apparently Kansas is not one of them.
“We have not been contacted at all by the Justice Department in this respect,” said Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
And Kobach, a Republican who pushed for the Kansas voter ID law, said he doesn’t expect the federal government to look at the Kansas measure.
Kansas was among a number of states this year that approved laws requiring voters to show a photo ID to vote. The new requirement will be in effect for the 2012 election.
The Justice Department is looking over new laws in South Carolina and Texas. The agency has not said what other states’ laws are being analyzed.
In a speech last week in Austin, Texas, at the presidential library of Lyndon Johnson, who signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to enforce civil rights at the ballot box.
Under the Voting Rights Act, the federal government may block states from putting into effect laws that it deems may deter minorities from voting. Several voting rights groups allege the ID laws will suppress elderly, student and minority voters.
Kobach disagrees, saying the ID laws are needed to prevent voter fraud.
Kansas may escape Justice Department review because it is not a “pre-clearance” state, Kobach said. Under the Voting Rights Act, most of the southern states are “pre-clearance” states, which means any changes proposed in election laws in those states have to be given the OK by the Justice Department.
Even so, Kobach said he didn’t think the Justice Department could justify stopping the laws because the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 upheld an Indiana law that required a photo ID of voters.
By Scott Rothschild