SPOKANE, Wash. -

One week after a western Washington man admits killing three people in a shopping mall shooting spree, the debate has shifted to an unusual place: his voting record.

A Seattle TV station reported this week that Arcan Cetin was not a legal U.S. citizen, but had voted in several Washington elections. That set off a firestorm of controversy online and on talk radio. It also led some state elections officials, gathered this week in Spokane, to push for support of the Real ID act.

"Mr. Cetin registered to vote in 2014," said Secretary of State Kim Wyman at a news conference in Spokane Friday. "He's voted three times since. One each of those occasions, he affirmed he was a citizen of the United States."

Wyman used Cetin's case as an example of why Washington needs some legal way of verifying citizenship when people register to vote.

"We can't ask," she said. "We can't verify."

Wyman did not acknowledge that the Seattle TV station that first reported Cetin's citizenship status has since walked back its report, now saying it was given incorrect information and that Cetin is actually a legal citizen and eligible to vote. When kxly4 asked her office about that, a spokesperson said the confusion is even more reason for enacting Real ID in the state.

Real ID, as laid out by Wyman would require a person to present citizenship verification to get a Washington driver's license. That information could then be accessed by county elections officials when verifying someone's right to vote. It would also allow the elections office to automatically register citizens to vote, once their information is confirmed.

Real ID has already been approved by congress and is used in 47 states.

"Our goal is to balance access and security," Wyman said. "You can't have unlimited access and you can't have such tight security that people can't engage. That's what we're trying to do is balance those two things."

Wyman wants the legislature to pass Real ID provisions next session. Even if lawmakers don't pass it now, they'll have to figure it out soon. The Department of Homeland Security says Washington needs Real ID in place by 2018 or our driver's licenses won't be good enough to get on a plane.