Photo ID policy hinders many prospective voters.
Many people don't see the problem.
Americans need photo identification for many reasons. Why would requiring photo ID to vote be an issue?
Unfortunately, it's an even bigger problem than many anticipated.
A new study by the Brennan Center for Justice, which focuses on justice and democracy, sheds light on how the photo ID requirement penalizes low-income and minority voters in particular, and especially those in rural areas.
The study found an astounding 11 percent of eligible voters nationwide lack the necessary government-issued photo ID required by new restrictive Voter ID laws, such as the one in Kansas, including 25 percent of blacks, 16 percent of Hispanics and 18 percent of Americans over 65. Worse yet, many of those individuals have minimal transportation options needed to get to places free government IDs are issued.
In Kansas, more than 260,000 eligible voters live more than 10 miles from the nearest state ID-issuing office, many of which have limited hours. And more than 7,000 of those Kansans lack a vehicle.
Compare the potential in lost votes to the scant few incidents in Kansas of voter fraud — which Secretary of State Kris Kobach cited as a reason to pursue Voter ID ¬-- and the requirement makes no sense.
Of course, there's more to it. Kobach, Gov. Sam Brownback and others in their ultraconservative GOP crusade also would prefer a lower voter turnout from the poor, elderly and minorities — many of whom happen to be Democrats.
Ultraconservatives are die-hard voters. Suppressing the vote of others in Kansas clearly improves their chances of controlling the Legislature and rubber-stamping a Brownback agenda that would undermine support for our most vulnerable citizens, slash funding for public schools and do other harm.
Voter ID is but one strategy to accomplish as much.
Kansans understandably fearful of such extremism must get to the polls Aug. 7 and support more moderate GOP candidates who'd provide checks and balances state government needs, and hopefully reconsider a detrimental Voter ID policy.
Considering the existing roadblock for many would-be voters, it's become all the more critical for those who can access a ballot to have a say.