Voter registration deadline looms

Abbie Stuart, [email protected] washburn.edu, is a freshman English major

On Nov. 4, Kansans will have the opportunity to determine the immediate future of state politics. While the long-standing rule about voting reserves the privilege for those aged 18 and older, new pol­icies have left many unclear about the process.

In order to vote, you must be reg­istered. To qualify for registration, a person must be a Kansas resident at the time of registering and living in the county in which they are reg­istering. Eligible voters must be 18 years of age or older by Election Day and a citizen of the United States. Individuals cannot register if they’re dead, are on probation or parole, or declared ineligible by a Kansas court of law.

Those who meet all qualifica­tions can register either online or by filling out a paper form and mailing it to the local county election office.

The paper forms can be found online at voteks.org or at the coun­ty election office, Secretary of State’s office, and other places. As of Jan. 1, 2013, all applicants must submit a proof of citizenship. Ac­ceptable proofs of citizenship are birth certificates or consular reports for those born abroad, U.S. issued passports with both picture and passport number visible, natural­ization documents or naturalization certificate number, Bureau of Indi­an Affairs card number, tribal treaty card number or tribal enrollment number and other variants of the above.

Once an application is submitted, the county election office will reply with a certificate of registration from your county election office. This certificate will provide details on polling locations and allow the applicant to update personal in­formation if necessary. All voter applications must be filled out and submitted by Oct. 14 to be eligible to vote in November.

While registration might seem complicated, the importance of go­ing through the process is not lost on local residents.

“I think you shouldn’t complain about who’s in office unless you’ve taken the time to register to vote and actually voted,” said Topekan Sarah Barnell.

This year’s election features a three-way dance for governor that pits incumbent Sam Brownback against Democratic challenger Paul Davis and Libertarian Keen Um­behr. Voters will also be given the opportunity to decide the hotly con­tested race for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Republican Pat Roberts. Independent candidate Greg Orman seeks to oust Roberts in a race that, thus far, does not of­fer a Democratic candidate after the controversial exit of Chad Taylor.

For detailed instructions on how to register to vote in the November 4 elections, visit voteks.org.