WICHITA, Kansas — States across the country have been tightening their voter ID laws the past few years.
A study conducted by Congress’ investigative agency was released this week pointing to a direct correlation between strict voter ID laws and a decline in voter turnout.
The data points specifically to Kansas’ voter ID law, illustrating that correlation between elections in 2008 and 2012.
The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, released a report this week that estimates voter turnout in Kansas dropped two percent between 2008 and 2012 after stricter voter ID laws were enacted. The data is compared to four states that did not change their voter ID laws during that time period, including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, and Maine.
“This study just proves what we’ve been saying all along that Kris Kobach has been gaming the system,” said Reuben Eckels, the deputy director of Kansas People’s Action. “He’s been trying to intimidate Latinos, African Americans, women, and independent Kansans.”
The 206 page report also found lower turn-out among young voters between the ages of 18 and 23 years old, as well as among black voters.
In a letter responding to the report, Secretary of State Kris Kobach questioned the report’s methodology, calling it “fatally flawed.”
“They made a really fundamental mistake of not controlling for the number one factor that affects voter turnout and that is the presence of a really controversial statewide race,” said Kobach.
Kobach suggests that if voting data from 2012 and 2000 were compared in Kansas, voter turnout would be close.
Further, Kobach said, “The presence of the photo ID requirement had little effect on turnout; and the effect that did occur was positive.”
“Photo ID doesn’t change their decision to go to the polls or not. Everybody’s got a photo ID,” added Kobach. “The purpose of these election security laws is to stop voter fraud.”
KSN reached out to the woman who hopes to replace Kobach in the race for Secretary of State, Jean Schodorf.
“For three-and-a-half years, Mr. Kobach has been talking about voter fraud. There’s no voter fraud. He’s just been talking about it as a way to suppress voting,” said Schodorf.
Kobach also tries to discredit the study by attacking its logistics.
“All in all, I don’t think we can draw much of a conclusion at all because they’ve got a biased organization doing the number crunching and they’re comparing apples to oranges,” said Kobach.
To read Kobach’s letter of response, compiled in the report, visit pages 187 – 188 of the document.
For more information about the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), visit their website.