Mail-in voting for school funding raises questions

WICHITA, Kan. — A part of the new legislation, funding for students would increase if local school districts increase the money through local taxes.

It is called the Local Option Budget or LOB and it would have to be approved in a mail-in ballot.

But some are questioning the security of these mail-in ballots.

The Kansas Secretary of State has been very vocal about the need for voter identification; if you vote, you must show your I.D. However, a new bill states that if schools want more money they can raise it through a mail-in ballot.

Some are wondering, if Kansas law requires voters to show their I.D. when voting in person, how do you verify your identification on a mail-in ballot?

“I think voters overall, well, they have a lot of questions about where does voter ID apply. Where does it not apply? And I think that the issue of mail in ballots only adds to the confusion,” said Louis Goseland, the Kansas People’s Action Campaign Director.

Goseland wants to know if you will have to show an I.D. to vote on a mail-in ballot.

KSN talked to Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office about mail-ins and I.D.’s. They said to ask the Deputy of Elections in Kansas, Brad Bryant.

“The only participants in a mail in ballot are the registered voters who are on what we call the active voter list. They are the only ones who are sent mail ballots,” said Bryant.

Bryant said that the photo I.D. is simply not needed in a mail-in ballot because voters are required to sign their ballot before sending it in.

“But the main thing on the security piece of it, is the signature. A voter has to sign,” said Bryant.

Bryant maintains a signature is proof enough to discourage voter fraud because he says each county elections officer is supposed to check the signature with the voter signature on file.

It is also important to know that the State of Kansas has filed suit against the Federal Government over the voter rights. Kobach has said that it is not enough to swear with a signature on the Federal Voter Registration Form that you are a legal citizen.

KSN did reach out to Kobach to comment on this but he was unavailable.

Another issue KSN looked into is where the money will come from to pay for the mail-in ballot. We were able to find out that the school districts do.

KSN also contacted the Sedgwick County election office to see how it would work for Wichita schools particularly.

They said that they will send out a ballot to every registered voter within USD 259’s District.

The rough estimate for that cost is $160,000 to $170,000 to send out 155,000 ballots, or just over a dollar a piece.

When comparing to a polling election where you vote in a booth, it is more than double the cost. The same vote at the polls would cost $60,000 to $70,000.

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