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Changes in Kansas voting requirements
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Dear Editor:
In the past few weeks, two editorials have appeared in the Tribune regarding changes in Kansas voting requirements (Edit Roundup, Safeguard Our Voting Rights, Aug. 18; Edit Roundup, Losing Votes, Aug. 21). Both articles claim that requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote and photo ID to vote are measures that are only meant to suppress the democrat vote and disenfranchise minorities, including the poor, elderly, and students. I take exception to both claims. I am an American citizen and a registered voter. When I first registered to vote, before the “motor voter” laws were enacted, I was required to provide proof of citizenship (i.e., birth certificate) and proof of identity (i.e., driver’s license). Now, however, all that is required to register to vote is for the prospective voter to “swear” that he or she is an American citizen. Apparently people who write for the Wichita Eagle and the Garden City Telegram live in some kind of lala land where people are always truthful. In the real world, people lie, cheat, and steal if it is to their advantage. I’m not particularly impressed by someone “swearing” to anything, having seen politicians “swear” to uphold the U.S. Constitution and then take every opportunity to trample our constitutional rights, and having seen witnesses in court testifying “under oath” and lying through their teeth. As far as minorities, the poor, the elderly, and students being disenfranchised, this claim is absolutely laughable. Most of the poor, the elderly, and students – minority or not – have driver’s licenses or other forms of photo ID. If they have ever applied for a job, opened a bank account, applied for government benefits, or purchased liquor or cigarettes, they have had to provide photo ID. In order to obtain Social Security and other government benefits, the applicant is required to provide both a certified birth certificate and a photo ID. Furthermore, anyone can obtain a certified copy of their birth certificate through the mail, and Kansas, like most states, provides birth certificates free of charge for voting purposes. The Wichita Eagle editorial quotes then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, advocating for the law he would later proudly sign as president, “This right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals, control over their own destinies.” He made another comment, less publicly, which is quoted in Ron Kessler’s “Inside the White House”: “I’ll have those n-----s voting Democratic for the next 200 years... give them a little something...”  He was talking about affirmative action and his Great Society. Does that sound familiar? He made the same kind of promises to black Americans back then that our current president and politicians have made and are making to minorities, including those who are in this country illegally. The Garden City Telegram editorial states that “ a state with about 1.7 million registered voters, only a handful of cases related to reports of non-citizens voting or attempting to vote have materialized in the past decade, with even fewer convictions.” How comforting it is to know that “only a handful” of votes cast by ELIGIBLE voters were effectively canceled out by the votes of INELIGIBLE voters. By pushing for proof of citizenship to register to vote, and requiring photo ID to vote, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is protecting the voting rights of all Kansans, including minorities, the poor, the disabled, and students. Anyone who is NOT a U.S. citizen has no right to vote, period.
Sharon McGinness