KU student ID cards to work at voting polls
- Mar. 14, 2012
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To add to the list of the different uses a KU student ID card possesses, students can now use them at election polls in Kansas.
All university student IDs in Kansas have recently been considered a valid form of identification for voting purposes according to Secure and Fair Elections Act (S.A.F.E Act.) Kansas legislature adopted S.A.F.E. Act on April 18, 2011 and went into effect on Jan. 1. It requires voters to show an approved photographic identification at all Kansas government and presidential election polls.
“We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to comply with the new requirement, while at the same time, protecting against voter fraud,” Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach said. “We felt that the universities in Kansas were sufficiently careful in distributing photo IDs. It was unlikely that university photo IDs would be used as a tool for fraud.”
Voter turnout for college students is not as high as other age groups said Jack Martin, director of strategic communications for the University. He said more student involvement in the political process results in the views of students being taken more into account when decisions are being made in the local and national governments.
“We want KU students to be active, informed, and engaged citizens. Part of the rights and responsibilities in citizenship is voting and you need an ID to vote in Kansas,” Martin said.
A list of other acceptable photo IDs include driver’s licenses, non-driver’s licenses, concealed carry of a hand gun licenses, military IDs, public assistance IDs and employee badges that are issued by a municipal court, county, state or federal state of Kansas.
Voters are still required to register to vote before going to the polls. Registration forms are available online at www.dmv.org, local libraries, city halls and local departments of motor vehicles (DMV).
Kay Curtis, director of public affairs for the Kansas Secretary of State, said before the S.A.F.E. Act was passed, the only requirement when registering to vote was a statement claiming citizenship if no other form of proof was available. The S.A.F.E. Act demands documentation to be shown that proves citizenship when registering to vote.
There is a state-wide voter education campaign to inform Kansas residents about the S.A.F.E. Act. The campaign is paying for ads on TV, radio, newspaper and internet. Curtis said partnerships across the state are encouraged to meet with different organizations, political parties and candidates to help spread the message.
“We’re especially pleased with the growth and enthusiastic support of the S.A.F.E. Act Community Partner group that includes most of the leading Kansas universities, associations, financial services, utilities, media organizations, state and social agencies and retailers,” Curtis said. “They’re all equally important because they reach different audience groups.”
Kobach said the law has already seen some success at other schools in the state.
“We have seen the law in effect in Wichita,” Kobach said, “There was a big election, on Feb. 28, on a tax bill at question in the city of Wichita. Wichita State University students were affected and I’m not aware of any university students that had any difficulty voting.”
Citizens who do not have a form of photo identification can receive a free voter ID by applying at a DMV. Details and more information are available at www.gotvoterid.com.
Edited by Max Lush