Kansas Launches Online Voter Registration

Kansas becomes one of the few states in the nation to modernize the voter registration process.

by / July 29, 2009
Ron Thornburgh, Kansas Secretary of State Photo courtesy of Kansas Secretary of State

Photo: Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh/Photo courtesy of Kansas Secretary of State

While digital elections still may be out of reach for most, this week Kansas joined several states that have taken steps to digitize some of the voting process.

According to The Topeka Capital-Journal, any Kansan who has a valid driver's license now can register online to vote. The system unites the secretary of state's voter registration system with the Department of Revenue's driver's license database using software from Election Systems & Software.

Kansas joins a handful of states, including Washington and Arizona, that are permitting residents to register online to vote.

"An online voter registration application is the next step in making the traditional elections process easier, faster and cheaper. As technology continues to change and evolve, it is important that we implement strategies that will allow the citizens of Kansas to register in a way that is most convenient to them, without sacrificing the security and uniformity that sets our elections system apart," Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh said in an agency news release.

To complete the registration process, voters must visit either Vote Kansas or the Kansas Department of Revenue Web site and fill out a questionnaire. The standard questions of age, citizenship and felony convictions appear first, followed by a page on which to enter a valid Kansas driver's license or nondriver's identification card number.

Per Kansas law, first-time voters will still need to present identification at their polling place even if they've registered online. And, of course, traditional registration methods are still available.

According to The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon described the new tool as a "labor of love" and pledged to rid the state of paper processes wherever he could.

Chad Vander Veen

Chad Vander Veen previously served as the editor of FutureStructure, and the associate editor of Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.