Tough Voting Laws Useless In Identity Theft Case

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP)-- A Mexican man accused in a bizarre identity theft scheme would likely still be able to circumvent tough new Kansas voting laws because he had the proper documents.

Eighty-one year-old Ramon Perez-Rivera entered a not guilty plea Wednesday in Wichita after being charged in a 33-count indictment. Federal prosecutors say he took another man's identity to get food stamps and Medicaid, obtain a U.S. passport and driver's license, and register to vote.

While Perez-Rivera did not have to prove his citizenship to vote because he registered in 1999, he still would have likely fooled the state even under the strict requirements now in place because he would have had the needed paperwork.

Election officials say he remains eligible to vote pending a conviction.

As of Wednesday, more than 25,000 voter registrations in Kansas were suspended because they had not provided the necessary paperwork.