Archive for Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kobach presses issue of election fraud

Current, former secretaries of state say no problem actually exists

August 15, 2010


— As Republican Kris Kobach campaigns for secretary of state, he’s zeroing in on one issue: stopping voter fraud.

“My campaign has been very much an issue-based campaign about the problem of voter fraud and the specific steps I will take to stop voter fraud in Kansas,” Kobach said.

“Regardless of what your political point of view is, in Kansas, whether you are Republican, Democrat or otherwise, most people want security and assurance that the election result was a valid result, that nobody stole the election and that no one got away with fraudulent votes,” Kobach said.

But in Kansas, voter fraud is almost nonexistent.

Former Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, a Republican who held the office for 15 years before resigning in February, says voter fraud in Kansas is not a major problem.

Kobach’s Democratic opponent Chris Biggs, who is the current secretary of state, also says voter fraud is not a problem.

A report produced by the secretary of state’s office in 2008 detailed complaints of voter irregularities over a 10-year period.

But many of these were isolated instances where someone said they thought they saw something suspicious. Of these allegations, three voters in the greater Kansas City area were discovered to have voted both in Missouri and Kansas in 2004. These people pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Kobach, who helped write Arizona’s immigration law that allows police to demand proof from suspects that they are in the country legally, says requiring voters to show a photo ID to vote would help stop fraud. Kobach also wants Kansans to show proof of citizenship before being allowed to register to vote.

Biggs said there is no reason to install such a system because safeguards already are in place to ensure fair elections. He said Kobach is using scare tactics to pursue a personal agenda, a claim that Kobach denies.


Scott Tichenor 7 years, 7 months ago

Ah yes, the politics of fear.

Very convenient for Kobach's personal finances. Since their is no voter fraud in Kansas--and he knows this--it gives him even more time to work on being a consultant for out-of-state projects. He has already acknowledged if he wins the Secretary of State will be but just one job that gets his attention. The only fraud so far here, is Kobach's campaign platform. It's all smoke and mirrors. Identical to Phil Kline if you ask me.

texburgh 7 years, 7 months ago

Kobach has evidence of voter fraud...Democrats gained seats in the Kansas house two elections in a row!

kansanbygrace 7 years, 7 months ago

There's a significant difference between an act of which there is evidence, and the inference that something occurred that originates in the mind of the supposer.

corduroypants 7 years, 7 months ago

Do you also reply to the voices in your head?

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

" Al Franken won in MN by 200 votes, likely could've been felon votes"

  1. The GOP's lead lawyer told the MN Supreme Court that there was no evidence of persistent fraud in the election.

  2. Why would all these felons vote for the Democrat?

  3. Felons have IDs too so how would Kobach's proposal change anything? The complaint in MN was that the felons shouldn't have been registered to begin with.

Robert Schehrer 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe Kobach should move to MN and run for Secretary of State there.

Jonathan Becker 7 years, 7 months ago

Before I vote for you, Hedley, what is your position of government funding of alchemy research?

corduroypants 7 years, 7 months ago

What's the latest on thespians? Do they still want to marry?

Grundoon Luna 7 years, 7 months ago

If you intend to make September 19th, International Talk Like A Pirate Day, a Nation Holiday I will vote for you. I think the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster plan on making that a holy day as well since dressing in full pirate regalia is part of their worship practices. It will highlight your committment to diversity.

Grundoon Luna 7 years, 7 months ago

What planet are you from? It's called faith based chemistry, dude. ;-)

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 7 months ago

Ah yes, the Senator from Kansas Al Franken.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 7 months ago

please note, Mr. Shewmon, that those allegations of abuse by ACORN have been, after reasonable review, to be determined without merit.

voevoda 7 years, 7 months ago

TomShewmon's statements tend to be uncivil--distorting the truth and deliberately provocative. But there is no reason, Defender, for you to match his tone.
Try this: "There are allegations of vote fraud against both the Democrats and the Republics (look at Ohio in 2004). Politicizing the issue by pointing the finger just at Democrats does nothing to guarantee the legitimacy of our elections."

jonas_opines 7 years, 7 months ago

There could be a reason. Civil behavior will make no difference as long as you're not on the same ideological platform (this has been quite well demonstrated), and sometimes matching his tone is, well, entertaining.

staff04 7 years, 7 months ago

Voter fraud in Kansas is as real as the death panel in "Obamacare" legislation.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. I noticed how he didn't present any examples of voter fraud here in Kansas. probably because it is very rare. More fear-mongering from the GOP.Let him go run in Arizona. They like him there. At least a few do.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 7 months ago

Though there are probably a few isolated instances of someone voting who is not qualified, the far greater voter fraud occurs when election boards and secretaries of state disqualify citizens falsely. That has occurred hundreds to thousands of times in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and possibly several other places.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 7 months ago

All, I am shocked to note, republican controlled efforts.

Why, I wonder, do republicans wish to prevent the poor and minority populations not to vote? And who is engaged in the fraud?

Jason Bowers-Chaika 7 years, 7 months ago

Rigging voting districts and controlling election sites is the greater threat. Does anyone remember the hours long lines that mostly Democratic voters had to wait to vote for President Obama?

Requiring voters to show official ID to vote is another tactic designed to suppress low income (Democratic) voters.

voevoda 7 years, 7 months ago

The requirement to present an ID--and the extra effort it would take to confirm that it is a legitimate ID--would probably slow down the lines at the polling places. As you say, gayokay, there can me long lines in closely-contested elections. Such lines had a lot to do with George W. Bush's victory in 2004, when exceptionally long waiting times deterred voters in heavily Democratic districts in Ohio.
Of course, if it was just a matter of flashing an ID, then it wouldn't take so long. But given how easy it is to get a fake ID if the goal is fraudulent (such as underage drinking)---see the recent LJW articles on the subject--requiring an ID wouldn't prevent vote fraud.

deec 7 years, 7 months ago

If he's so concerned about voter fraud and people stealing elections, why didn't he sound off about Bush? Just sayin'....

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

"But in Kansas, voter fraud is almost nonexistent."

Maybe he should focus on some problem more common such as lightening striking the same spots twice.

The type of voter fraud addressed by ID's is the ultimate mismatch: high individual risk of serious punishment offset by virtual impossibility of altering election results.

puddleglum 7 years, 7 months ago

oh boy, Kobach almost had my vote...please don't start being a typical fear-mongering republican, it is an immediate turn-off.

blindrabbit 7 years, 7 months ago

We've already started on the merry-go-round ride with this clown (Kobach) and he has not even elected yet. Tom, how do you bring up voter fraud in Minnesota Senate election (for the up-teenth time) with a straight face and not also talk about the 2000 Presidental election and the shenanigans in Florida and Ohio, Remember the lipstick queen, Kathleen Harris (Fla. Secy of State) screwing-up the voter outcome down there, and getting support from Jeb, hanging chads and the vain William Rehnquist's Supreme Court. (by that time Rehnquist should have excused himself for senility if for no other reason. Kathleen's kissing the Repubs. did her little good in the long run, although she did win one 2-year term in Congress. The party tossed her once they emptied her pretty head (so she thought); she's back selling orange juice in Fla.

The Ohio election was another issue, with a black Republican (U.T.) election commissioner involved with fraudulent actions that turned the popular vote outcome. For his actions; he was later rewarded by Dubya's machine.

Centerville 7 years, 7 months ago

At least 126,000 Kansas registered voters are listed with incorrect addresses. Anything more complicated than putting on that silly Hawaiian shirt and going around the office demanding another hootenany is beyond Biggs. His opinion is not relevant.

feeble 7 years, 7 months ago

Given that you can complete a voter registration form up to 15 days before an election, I'm not sure what your complaining about. Perhaps you should bring this issue up again on October 19th, when the voter registration period closes?

wastewatcher 7 years, 7 months ago

Kobach is right on. What is wrong with having to show a legitimate form of ID, such as a drivers liscense or something similar, before one can vote. After, there are many places where you have to show an ID before you get a cool drink and you have to show an ID to board an airplane or cash a check. I support Kobach's ideas on this issue and will await replies to point out what is wrong with them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

Let's look at your above situations. There is an incentive for underage people to try to drink alcohol; there's been a demonstrated incentive for people to board an airplane for the purpose of committing crimes and acts of terrorism; there's an incentive for cashing a bad check.

There is little or no incentive for fraudulently voting, and if done in a systematic enough fashion to actually affect an election, it's easily detected and existing laws already deal with it.

feeble 7 years, 7 months ago

Because a pre-condition on the exercise of the ability to vote has generally been found unconstitutional (poll tax, literacy test, etc).

The GOP-lead government in this state has only found and prosecuted three individuals out of the millions who have voted in elections over the last ten years. If you think trampling fundamental rights (the rights of citizens to vote) is warranted because .0003% of the population in this state willfully participate in voter fraud, Ben Franklin would like a word with you.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

Requiring people to prove that they are citizens and who they claim to be is hardly trampling anybody's rights.

Both of the above are required to vote.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

It's really not so much a matter of "trampling" rights.

For this to be a true democracy, people need to participate, and the one of the best ways to do that is to vote. But voter participation is usually rather low, and politicians, particularly Republicans, like it better when voter participation is low.

And what would the effect of such increased hurdles to voting be? Would it decrease voter fraud? Well, it's essentially non-existent, so it couldn't have that effect. Would it decrease voter turnout? Almost certainly.

So aside from fearmongering demagoguery, there's the real reason for this non-issue.

Jonathan Becker 7 years, 7 months ago

Look at your own driver's license. Does the address match exactly the voting rolls? Does one have zip code and the other zip+4? Not exact? You can vote provisionally but you will have to bring proof of your identity to the courthouse before Friday after Election Day.

We have so many backup and proofs in place that Kobach is going after gnats with a blunderbuss. Is that the kind of mentality that we want in a Sec. of State?

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

The only thing I've ever been required to do when voting is to state my name and address - the folks look it up and ask me to sign my name.

There is absolutely nothing done to ensure that I am who I say I am.

What are all of these "backup and proofs" you mention?

sciencegeek 7 years, 7 months ago

There doesn't have to be any voter fraud--you just have to make people THINK there's voter fraud. Then you can "save" them from the fear you've just built. Kobach can't run on real issues, so he builds a straw man. Simple. Obvious. But sadly, it appears to work.

I have an idea--instead of requiring just an ID, how about requiring intelligence, analytical thought, and the effort to check for the truth? Because that would eliminate most of the electorate?

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

One way to take the wind out of their sails would be to simply agree, and institute reasonable ID checks.

Issue gone!

jonas_opines 7 years, 7 months ago

You should know by now that in the current political climate, issues never go away. They might evolve slightly, and that's it.

George Lippencott 7 years, 7 months ago

Not unexpectedly, we have turned this into a left-right issue.

My question is how do you prove voter fraud if there are no mechanisms to detect it. Are we limited to those cases (which have occurred in other jurisdictions lately) when the number of votes cast exceeds the number of registered voters?

Many of us have anecdotal stories of individuals commenting about casting a ballot at home and at school or in two different adjacent states. Are these fabricated by those sharing them or just very small in number? How do we know?

I must show identification to process a check or board a plane. Why can I not be asked to show identification to vote?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"My question is how do you prove voter fraud if there are no mechanisms to detect it."

Of course there are mechanisms to detect it.

When I go to my precinct to vote, they ask me for my name and address. I sign my name.

If somebody had been in before me, and used my name, wouldn't that get noticed by someone? Maybe you wouldn't notice it, but I think I would.

Has that ever happened to you? To anyone you know?

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

What if you didn't feel like voting, and let a friend go instead?

Then, they could vote in your name, and in theirs as well, and nobody would ever know.

Just one thought.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

It could happen. But I have the same question-- what's the incentive?

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

You're apathetic, and your friend holds strong political views.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't know if it's a problem or not - that's the point.

Given the current rules, it could be happening.

And, I don't understand the problem with proving you're who you claim to be when voting.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago


I think that a state photo ID with anti-fraud mechanisms in place would be sufficient proof.

But if it can be shown that wouldn't be enough, I guess I'd give a sample, although it does feel a bit uncomfortable to consider, as it's more intrusive and might fall into the category of "unreasonable search".

SDTPlant 7 years, 7 months ago

"But in Kansas, voter fraud is almost nonexistent." What better way to demonstrate your superpowers than to take on non existent issues.

Mr. Kobach, your family weren't even good car dealers. Maybe you should join the ABA or get into insurance sales. Chances are, you'll find your niche. Somewhere between B (Hirudo medicinalis) and C (Clonorchis sinensis).

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

The only fraud here is that people stupid enough to vote for Kopach are allowed to vote.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

Not only should one be required to show ID in order to vote, but one should be required to pass an exam on American government and the Constitution to prove they are smart enough to make an informed decision.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

I've had the same thought a number of times.

George Lippencott 7 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) replies… "My question is how do you prove voter fraud if there are no mechanisms to detect it."

Of course there are mechanisms to detect it.

I was thinking a bit more globally. What if I register in Dodge and in Lawrence using my parents address in one and my appartment in the other. How do we catch that.

How do we know that your name on the book is really you and not somebody voting the dead (another recent trick of long standing)

How do we know that the original registration is valid?

I am afraid that I do not see any real mechanism for detecting such fraud in the simple act of signing a name in a book - other than to keep you from voting twice at the same poliling station.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

The only mechanism necessary is a way to compile databases of voters and look for anyone who is double registered and/or has been double voting. I expect that the office of the Sec. of State already has such databases, or could readily create them, and they could probably do it without any additional laws.

But again, what would the incentive be for someone double voting? The only way it'd be worthwhile to any candidates is if a significant number voters engaged in the practice, and at that point it becomes relatively difficult to conceal, as are most conspiracies of that type.

When the political machines in places like Chicago and Kansas City did it years ago, it wasn't any great secret. It was just that those who should have enforced those laws were too corrupt to do so.

More recently, election fraud has been almost exclusively a matter of the vote counting, and while both Democrats and Republicans have engaged in it, it's been primarily a Republican thing, most notably in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004.

George Lippencott 7 years, 7 months ago

Well that is the point. How do we know if it is significant if we have no way to detect it.

I agree we should have a computerized registration system that can detect multiple entries. I think there should be a more complete registration process ti make sure you are who you claim to be. After that an ID and the book are just fine.

What do you mean by "vote counting"?

OzD 7 years, 7 months ago

Remind me again, why would someone who couldn't competently run a state political party office be a good candidate for Secretary of State? Competency rather than ideology would seem to be what we should want from a Secretary of State candidate, but as Libby Ensley can attest, this doesn't seem to be the case this time around.

Just imagine how much effort Kobach is going to put into the more mundane (but very important) job duties of the office that don't involve elections. Kobach is aware that he ISN'T going to be governor or attorney general if he's elected SoS, right?!?

George Lippencott 7 years, 7 months ago

I am not sure he is. I was only commenting on the election fraud matter

Smalltalk 7 years, 7 months ago

If I live in a neighborhood which has little crime and I say that I don't need any security it might be acceptable. If when I hear of criminal activity in the neighborhood I say that I don't need any security it is foolish on my part.

It is not a question of whether Kansas has a problem with vote fraud, it is recognizing ahead of time that vote fraud is possible and taking appropriate steps to further curtail it. I am sure that the people in Minnesota and Washington would have proclaimed that they had no problems with vote fraud though recent events proved that they did have problems. Requiring valid ID to both register and to vote should not be that onerous of a proposition. And further the statement that "poor" people aren't capable of handling the mental effort to register to vote or go to the polls seems quite degrading of the "poor" people and I question your showing of your prejudice.

Bananajoe 7 years, 7 months ago

OH my gosh!!!! Thank you, Thank you.... Mr. Chicken Little Kobach for warning us that the sky is falling!!!! I always suspected there was something fishy when Lynn Jenkins defeated Nancy Boyda. Those Darn illegal alliens voting republican!!!!

CLARKKENT 7 years, 7 months ago

KOBACH IS THE ELECTION FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paul R Getto 7 years, 7 months ago

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...nonissue........move on. Kobach doesn't want to be Secretary of State, but the seat is up for grabs. Seems like he wants to be a combination poll watcher and ICE agent; that he could probably succeed at.

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