Kansas House ties primary to new voter ID requirement

TOPEKA, Kan. _ Most voters would be required to show a driver's license or other photo identification at the polls starting in 2010 under a bill the Kansas House approved Friday.

House members tied the new voter ID rules to a proposal scheduling a presidential primary for the first Saturday in February 2012. The state would finance the election, rather than having the Democratic and Republican parties run caucuses at their own expense.

The bill passed, 74-49. It's a House substitute for a voter ID bill the Senate approved last year, and the final version of the legislation will be written by negotiators for the two chambers.

Republicans, who hold majorities in both houses, have been pushing for at least five years to require voters to show photo ID, either at the polls or when they register to vote. They argue such a measure will reduce election fraud.

A 2004 law requires Kansans to show identification when they register for the first time in a county, but they don't have to use a photo ID. According to the secretary of state's office, most people use their driver's licenses.

That law passed after Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed tougher requirements in 2003. She and her fellow Democrats have resisted tougher requirements, arguing that they will lower voter turnout.

Meanwhile, having presidential primaries instead of caucuses has been an issue for three decades. The state experimented with one in 1980 but didn't hold another until 1992. It hasn't had one since then.