People in the Kansas City area can move across the state line and re-register to vote, and unknowingly become registered voters in both Kansas and Missouri. Such folks vote in their “new” state and are likely not even aware they are still registered in their “old” state. Legally, a voter cannot vote twice in both states, but it’s unclear whether such a voter accidentally registered in both states could vote in either their “old” state or their “new” state. And who would know if they did?
A prominent member of the Kansas City Star’s staff moved across the state line from Kansas to Missouri and re-registered to vote in Missouri, but is still an “active” registered voter in Kansas — more than 10 years later. For some reason, the Kansas City, Missouri Board of Election Commissioners never notified Johnson County, Kansas the voter re-registered in Missouri.
Meanwhile, the Johnson County, Kansas Election Office mails out voter registration cards to Johnson County voters at least every two years. Likely because family members still lived at the old address, as many as five mailings of voter registration cards were likely never returned as “undeliverable” by the post office, so the Johnson County officials never learned the voter now lives and votes in Missouri.
Federal Law requires that an election office keep a voter on the rolls until they have missed two presidential elections. The Kansas City Star staff member missed the last two presidential elections in Kansas (and all other elections, too, for over 10 years). It’s unclear why Johnson County officials, and other election offices, in Kansas are not more pro-active in removing such names from the list of voters. A Meadowlark article from early this year showed that over 50,000 voters in Kansas have not cast ballots since 1999 and could be removed from the rolls without violating Federal Law.
Acording to voter history from the Missouri Secretary of State, the Star staff member did cast a ballot in the last two presidential elections in Missouri (and a number of of other elections). But there’s nothing stopping this Star staff member from returning and voting in Kansas, since this person is an “active” registered voter in Kansas according to the list of voters recently obtained from the Kansas Secretary of State.
Several weeks ago, Gov. Sebelius vetoed a bill that would require a photo ID to vote in Kansas. This bill may have disenfranchised the Star staff member from voting in Kansas, but that person can still vote in Missouri. Why is it unreasonable to expect a voter to have an ID to vote in Kansas? Why is a voter ID check-and-balance too unreasonable to vote, when one must have two IDs just to work in the U.S.?
In late April the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID Law. In Kansas, we should vote for legislators this year are willing to protect the integrity of our elections, especially with the large number of voters on the list of voters who likely should not be on the list. In the next legislative session, we need sufficient legislators to pass this bill again, and override any veto by Gov. Sebelius, if necessary.
[editor’s note: The Kansas City Star staff member has not returned two E-mails requesting information for this article. The person will not be identified by name, without permission, since the person has done nothing to warrant public scrutiny about voter registration. This Kansas-Missouri “connection” was discovered by accident while researching another project.]
From the Kansas Meadowlark, June 6, 2008.