Kobach presses issue of election fraud

Current, former secretaries of state say no problem actually exists

? 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.