Voter fraud is a well-documented reality in Kansas.
My opponent’s claim that voter fraud is not a problem is incorrect. He is either woefully ignorant of what his own office reported prior to his arrival, or he is actively misrepresenting the facts.
In February 2008, the secretary of state’s office responded to Kansas legislators’ request for an accounting of voter fraud in the state. The secretary of state’s office documented that, during 1998-2008, voter fraud was reported in 11 Kansas counties. Some counties, including Johnson, Wyandotte, and Sedgwick County, witnessed multiple cases of voter fraud. In Wyandotte County alone, more than 50 cases of voter fraud were reported.
The vast majority of these cases were not investigated further or prosecuted.
More evidence came in 2009, when Sedgwick County provisional ballot judge Kathy Perry testified before the Kansas Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and described multiple forms of voter fraud that she personally witnessed at one polling place in Wichita in 2008.
Nothing was done to address the illegal voting activities that Perry reported.
We must also recognize that voter fraud is very difficult to detect, so the 60-plus cases that we know about are only the tip of the iceberg.
Voter fraud is perpetrated sometimes by individuals acting alone, sometimes by criminal organizations. ACORN, which submitted hundreds of thousands of fraudulent voter registration cards in the 2008 elections, has been investigated or prosecuted for crimes in 14 states, including Missouri.
ACORN was hard at work in Kansas during the 2008 elections, with three offices in our state. One reason that it’s so easy to commit election fraud in Kansas is that the crime is rarely punished. I am aware of only one case that has been prosecuted by the state since 2000.
If we continue to turn a blind eye to voter fraud, as my opponent does, it will only increase in the future. The time has come to stop voter fraud in Kansas. If I am elected secretary of state, protecting the integrity of our elections will be my top priority.
Preventing voter fraud is something that all Kansans can and do support. Fair elections protect every voter, every party, and every ideology equally.
More than that, fair elections protect the very fabric of our republic. Public confidence in the integrity of elections is at an all time low. In a 2008 poll, 62 percent of American voters thought voter fraud was very common or somewhat common. When voters fear that elections are being stolen through fraudulent activity, it erodes the legitimacy of our government.
We must act immediately to protect the integrity of our elections. I support requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls and requiring newly registered voters to prove their citizenship when they register. I will also restructure the prosecution of voter fraud, so that prosecutions actually occur. If we can present a photo ID to cash a check or board a plane, we can certainly present one to protect our most important privilege of citizenship. Those who oppose photo ID laws, like my opponent, often make the claim that it will inhibit voter participation. There is no evidence to support this argument. Possession of a photo ID has become a part of life in America.
That is why a Rasmussen poll on Thursday showed that 82 percent of Americans support photo ID laws. My opponent stands well outside of the mainstream of public opinion on this issue.
Voters have a clear choice in the election for secretary of state between someone who will take the reasonable steps necessary to prevent voter fraud, and someone who will continue to pretend that it does not exist.
— Kris W. Kobach is the Republican candidate for Kansas Secretary of State and a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.