Family voids patient’s ballot

News editor

A provisional ballot cast by a nursing home resident who didn’t have identification was disqualified Monday after a relative of the voter refused to supply the voter’s identification. The ballot was cast in USD 410’s referendum on whether to increase local funding for the school budget.

County Clerk Tina Spencer spoke with the nursing home about getting ID so the vote could be counted, but the nursing home wasn’t able to get ID from the voter’s family. Spencer told county commissioners at the canvass Monday that the relative thought the family member should not be voting.

Spencer said the voter had voted at an early poll site but didn’t have a photo ID as required by the Secure and Fair Elections Act, which the Kansas Legislature passed in 2011 at the urging of Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Kobach said Tuesday that it was unfortunate the voter’s family didn’t provide identification. He noted that the Kansas Constitution says being jailed or imprisoned is the only reason to disqualify someone from voting. He also said voters in 2010 amended the Constitution to remove mental illness as a reason to disqualify a voter.

“It’s a tough situation,” Kobach said, but “nobody broke the law.”

If voters don’t have identification, they can cast provisional ballots. If they provide ID between the election and the canvass, their votes can be counted.

Another provisional ballot was counted Monday after the voter provided ID.

The vote total in the June 17 election canvassed Monday was 220-58 in favor of allowing USD 410 to increase the amount of local funding for its budget.

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