Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced Wednesday 18-year-old voters who attend public high schools can show their school identification at the polls to satisfy the state's new photo ID requirement. But students from private high schools are out of luck.
Cathy Schmidt, McPherson County clerk, said this means students at Elyria Christian School can't show school IDs to vote. Schmidt said she anticipated most voters, including students, will use their driver's licenses as their IDs.
Elyria school officials said they have considered creating IDs for their students but are not currently issuing student IDs. McPherson High School also does not issue IDs to its students.
Kobach says his office has received many questions about whether various types of photo IDs are acceptable since the law he championed took effect in January.
On Wednesday, Kobach said it would be most fair to treat photo IDs from public and private high schools the same. But he noted the new law specifically requires IDs issued by government agencies, which arguably includes school districts.
Kobach says his office is drafting regulations to give more guidance but will allow students to use public school IDs at the polls Nov. 6.
Schmidt, after rereading the statute and Kobach's decision, said students from accredited colleges may use their photo IDs to vote.
This would include student IDs from McPherson College, Central Christian College, Bethany College and Hutchinson Community College. Students from these colleges must have McPherson listed as their place of residence and be registered to vote in McPherson County.
Schmidt further clarified that employee IDs could be used if the employee works for a government agency, such as the state of Kansas, Social Rehabilitation Service or one of the branches of the U.S. military.
If voters do not present an ID at the polls, they can cast a provisional ballet. If the voter brings an ID into the County Clerk's Office before the election results are finalized, his or her vote will be counted.
Schmidt said voters handled the new ID law well during the primary election. Few provisional ballots were cast.
The voter registration deadline is Oct. 16. Residents can register to vote during business hours at the clerk's office at the county courthouse. No special paperwork is required to register at this time, although this will be changing soon as the next provision of the voter ID law goes into effect.
Advance voting starts Oct. 17 at the courthouse, and the general election is Nov. 6.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.