Danedri Thompson
[email protected]
Most Johnson County voters remembered to take identification with them to the polls last week.
Johnson County voters passed the first statewide test of the new requirement since the Kansas voter ID law was passed in 2011. According to Brian Newby, Johnson County Election Commissioner, election staff issued 42 provisional ballots to people who were not prepared to show identification at the polls. Of those, election officials counted 22 of the ballots. Twenty were thrown out.
Newby explained the majority of voter ID provisional ballots came from mail-in ballot requests. The request form requires that voters give their Kansas driver’s license number.
“Most of these, I think, were people who when they filled out their mail ballot, I think they overlooked it,” Newby said. “They just never did write the number down, and we just never got ahold of them.”
Election workers tried to call those requesting mail ballots to get identification information. However, when some couldn’t be reached, the election office sent provisional ballots along with another request for their ID information.
Newby said 22 of those provisional ballots were returned with the necessary information.
He said approximately five voters physically presented at the polls on Aug. 7 without an ID.
“There’s occasionally something where someone comes in, and they’ve lost their wallet or something like that, but the times when someone doesn’t have their ID at the polls is typically some type of protest,” Newby said.
For example, he said one voter tried to vote using his athletic club identification.
“That’s not on the list,” Newby said.
Acceptable forms of ID under the new law include driver’s licenses or nondriver’s ID cards issued by Kansas or another state; concealed carry licenses issued by Kansas; U.S. passports; employee badges or ID issued by a municipal, county, state or federal government office; U.S. military IDs; student identification cards issued by accredited post-secondary schools in Kansas; public assistance identification cards issued by a municipality, county, state or federal office; or ID cards issued by an Indian tribe.
Newby said the man wanting to use his athletic club ID was trying to make a statement.
“He said he’d voted for 35 years and that (election workers) know him,” Newby said.