The GOP nominees for governor and secretary of state have said, if elected, they would look for legislation requiring a proof of citizenship to register to vote.

The GOP nominees for governor and secretary of state have said, if elected, they would look for legislation requiring a proof of citizenship to register to vote.

In addition, Kris Kobach, who is the GOP nominee for secretary of state, is hoping that registered voters will have to show a photo-ID when they cast ballots in person.

“It just makes so much sense to take these reasonable steps against voter fraud. We’re protecting this most precious right of citizenship,” Kobach said. “You have to present a photo ID to cash a check written against your own account. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for the same safeguards when voting.”

However, the Democrat gubernatorial nominee, state Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City, called the plan a way to keep people from voting.

“This is a solution in search of a problem,” Holland said. “The largest threat to the integrity of our elections would be career politicians placing additional — and expensive — barriers between voters and the ballot box. This burden would be especially hard on the elderly, the poor and the disabled.”

However, Brownback called the move a way to “protect the integrity” of Kansas elections and “secure the civil rights of voters.”

“We want as much trust and confidence in our state’s elections as possible,” said Brownback. “As part of our Road Map to Reform State Government, we will support and work with the Kansas Legislature on passage of a bill that requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote through any mechanism.”

At present, eight states have voter ID laws. But, Holland contended that three states have had voter ID laws ruled unconstitutional.

“Indiana had their Voter ID Law struck down. So did Missouri and Georgia,” Holland said. “We shouldn’t put Kansas on the same road to failure by wasting taxpayer dollars on expensive and unnecessary litigation. Instead of creating voter suppression, we need to be encouraging voter participation.”

Current secretary of state, Chris Biggs, a Democrat running against Kobach, said that the current system in Kansas is “operating fine” and that Kobach “cannot be trusted” in his approach with balance and fairness.

“We already have an effective ID requirement for first time voters,” Biggs said. “Any additional requirements should should be carefully considered within the context of a plan that balances security AND accessibility.”

Biggs cited a memo issued by Kobach in 2007 while he was the chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, where Kobach said that the party used caging, or a method of challenging the registration status of voters to potentially prevent them from voting in an election.

In that memo, it stated that the Kansas GOP “has indentified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years.

“His prior attempt to suppress valid votes demonstrates a partisanship that is inappropriate for the Secretary of State’s office as the state’s chief election official,” Biggs said.

Monday marked the last day for voters to register to vote in Kansas for the Nov. 2 general election.

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140