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Kobach touts success of Kan. photo ID law

By JOHN MILBURN

Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says fewer than expected registered voters cast provisional ballots in the Nov. 6 general election in response to the new state photo identification law.

The law requires voters to show a valid photo identification in order to receive a ballot and cast their vote. This was the first general election to require such proof of identity since the law was enacted in 2011.

Kobach said Tuesday that only 717 provisional ballots were cast because of photo ID issues -- 0.6 percent of the more than 1.15 million votes cast.

"And that's an even smaller percentage than in the primary," Kobach said.

The Republican said voters are becoming more familiar with the law and its requirements, and the relatively few problems with photo identification are evidence of that.

"I think the photo ID requirements are going very smoothly, in fact smother than I expected," Kobach said.

Earlier this month, voters were asked to cast their preference for president, four U.S. House seats, 125 Kansas House seats, 40 Kansas Senate seats and numerous county-elected positions, from sheriffs to clerks to commissioners. This was the first time since 2000 that Kansas didn't have a U.S. Senate seat or statewide elected office on the ballot, tempering voter turnout.

Kobach said all of the races have been decided and there were no recounts requested for the congressional or legislative seats. The results of the general election are scheduled to be certified by the state canvassing board on Nov. 29. The board consists of Kobach and fellow Republicans Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Kansas will hold elections for governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and insurance commissioner in 2014, along with the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Pat Roberts, who is expected to seek re-election. All 125 Kansas House seats will also be on the ballot.

Kobach successfully pushed through the new photo ID law, along with changes in the voter registration laws that require proof of citizenship to register for the first time in Kansas starting Jan. 1.

Though he said he would be seeking a few changes to the voting laws, Kobach said the bigger issue that needs to be addressed was the counties where there are more registered voters than eligible voting-age population.