Organizers educate about new voter ID regulations

WICHITA, Kansas – Several local organizations have been working to educate voters on what they need to provide at the election booth.

It’s the first major election in Kansas since the controversial proof of citizenship laws took effect and local groups are working to make sure that voters are educated about what they need to do.

“We’re still having calls of people who are 90 years old that don’t have a valid driver’s license or have never had a driver’s license or lost it 30 years ago,” said Carole Neal of the Wichita chapter of the League of Women Voters. “I just had a woman from Kingman call yesterday to ask because her mother’s always voted, and doesn’t know how is she going to vote.”

On the proof of citizenship rules, data provided by the state to Kansas Peoples Action shows almost 24,000 Kansas voters are in suspense, including about 4,700 in Sedgwick County, meaning the proof that they are US citizens has not been submitted to or verified by the Secretary of State’s office.

If that is your case, your vote will not count unless you registered with a federal registration form, in which case only votes for federal races will be counted.

“You can vote and then supply the information to the election office and make sure that your registration is right or something,” Neal suggested to those who feel their placement on this list is in error.

As for voter ID rules, on Tuesday, you will need to bring a government-issued picture ID to your precinct, like a drivers license, passport or military ID. If you are over 65, you can use an expired form of identification.

“If you go to the poll and you don’t have your ID, but you know you’re registered, you can vote a provisional ballot,” Neal said. That ballot is checked against voter rolls to ensure the voter is eligible before it is counted.

Finally, because of a new state law this year that places a moratorium on when voters can change party affiliation, voters cannot cross party lines if they are affiliated with a party. If a voter is not affiliated, he/she can vote in Tuesday’s primary, and switch back to unaffiliated status after September 1.

“You go to the poll on Tuesday, you will have to affiliate,” Neal said. “You can’t just go in and say, “I want to stay this way,’ but you can vote either Republican or Democrat and vote the ticket.”

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