Archive for Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Statehouse Live: Kobach says he will fight for public initiative

July 27, 2010, 1:00 p.m. Updated July 27, 2010, 5:20 p.m.


— Republican candidate for secretary of state Kris Kobach is adding “popular initiative” to his to-do list if elected.

“It’s time to give the people of Kansas control over what goes on the ballot,” Kobach said during a news conference Tuesday on the Statehouse grounds.

Kobach said that he will push for a measure that will give Kansans the right through petitions to force public votes on state laws and constitutional changes without having to go through the Legislature.

Kobach faces Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth “Libby” Ensley and J.R. Claeys of Salina, an independent consultant, in the GOP primary.

Twenty-six states, including all of Kansas’ bordering states, have ways for voters to put issues on the ballot.

Kobach said he believes the referendums would lead to lower taxes, break legislative deadlocks and increase voter participation.

He said he would like to see initiatives placed on the ballot that would make it more difficult for the Legislature to approve tax increases, limit growth in property value appraisals, and change the way state appellate judges are picked.

Kobach has also come out in favor of requiring photo ID to vote, proof of citizenship to register to vote, and increasing the powers of the secretary of state’s office in voting fraud cases.

Asked why he was bringing up the initiative issue for the first time just one week before the Aug. 3 primary, Kobach said this was a good time because people are getting focused on campaigns.

His primary opponents didn’t think much of Kobach’s announcement.

Claeys said he also supported giving voters a bigger say in government, but said Kobach lacked the leadership or management skills to push the proposal through the Legislature.

Kobach, who co-wrote the Arizona anti-illegal immigration law called SB 1070, has become a national figure in the immigration debate. He also has been under fire after a recent Federal Elections Commission audit criticized financial dealings of the Kansas Republican Party when Kobach was its chairman. Kobach has blamed the party’s former executive director, who has denied wrongdoing and blamed Kobach.

Asked to respond to Kobach’s voter initiative proposal, Ensley’s campaign manager, Jesse Borjon said, “This is just another attempt by Libby’s opponent to grow government and deflect attention away from the financial mess he’s created for the Republican Party.”

The winner of the Republican contest will advance to the November general election to face the winner of the Democratic Party primary between Secretary of State Chris Biggs and state Sen. Chris Steineger of Kansas City. Phillip Horatio Lucas of El Dorado is the Libertarian candidate, and Derek Langseth of Valley Center is the Reform Party candidate.


sciencegeek 7 years, 10 months ago

You'd think we had a massive problem with voter fraud in Kansas. Just how many AUTHENTICATED case of non-citizens voting have we recorded? What percentage of votes cast were fraudulent? Or is this just more fear-mongering for political gain?

The last thing we need is our uninformed electorate choosing judges and setting tax policy. Legislators have much more information that the average citizen, and look how badly they've handled it!

Just what we need--another wide-eyed extremist in state government. God help us!

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 10 months ago

It would be short sighted to focus solely on the authenticated cases of non-citizens who attempted to vote. After all, those folks got busted because the law happened to work.

What's worthy of concern is the number of non-citizen voters who we know nothing about. How many are there? How often does it happen? We can't know, because we don't have a photo ID requirement in Kansas.

We should also be concerned about the number of people who vote more than once in a given election. Again, if photo ID is required to vote, we put an end to the fraud.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 10 months ago

Fear is one of America's greatest values.

kernal 7 years, 10 months ago

It's getting so that every time I read another article about Kobach, the move "Idiocy" comes to mind.

Jimbecile 7 years, 10 months ago

He reminds me of "Deliverance". I'd bet he owns a banjo, too.

Phillbert 7 years, 10 months ago

Kris, you know you're running for Secretary of State and not Governor or legislator, right? Because you seem to spend almost all of your time talking about things that you would have no power over as Secretary of State.

citizen4honor 7 years, 10 months ago

Radical to want illegal immigration reform? Radical to require a photo ID to vote? Radical to allow citizens to bring up issues to vote on? Radical to put control of Kansans lives in their own hands?

Kobach has degrees from Yale (BS), Oxford (MS PHD) and Harvard (JD). Brilliant is more closer a word to use describing him. Foolish and uneducated would describe anyone who used idiocy to describe him.

tolawdjk 7 years, 10 months ago

One man's "elitiest" is another man's "brilliant". Just depends on the color of your crayola.

texburgh 7 years, 10 months ago

Of course he won't. The Koch-owned Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity (for the wealthy) won't allow him too. Their advocacy for wage and benefit depression depends on illegals who will work for practically nothing in difficult or filthy jobs.

Jimbecile 7 years, 10 months ago

A product of education and priveledge. Are you saying a horse can learn to wear a tie? Because he may have been in attendance for those courses, doesn't guarantee his level of intellect. Just listen to his rhetoric. It isn't too difficult to decide what he really stands for. No amount of education or money can change the fact that he is a racist. Any person who works to undermine any part of society has no business pretending to serve the public. I didn't go to Yale, but I can spot garbage.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 10 months ago

The issue couldn't be more clear: a voter ID requirement prevents fraud from occuring. And its practically free to implement.

frank mcguinness 7 years, 10 months ago

Because nobody makes fake id's huh? Not even college kids.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 10 months ago

If fake IDs are such a problem, then voter fraud is equally problematic.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Students have a very strong incentive to create fake ID's-- they want to party with their friends.

There is pretty much no incentive to commit voter fraud.

citizen4honor 7 years, 10 months ago

Requiring an ID to vote is going to cost Millions? Where do you get YOUR numbers. Have you looked at election results? In Johnson County trends would show clear voter violations. Very few people have been arrested - coz no one is doing anything about it. When we can not guarantee votes, we have lost all ability to be free people. It's that plain and simple. I like freedom. I like Kobach. We need more Kobach's in office.

zenmon 7 years, 10 months ago

Yup bars, liquor stores, and how many other places have to spend tons of money to look at a drivers license and go wow you are who you say you are or that's a really good fake. Didn't Kansas and most other states spend a ton of money already to try and make the drivers license more difficult to fake with holograms and other security measures?

It takes less than 10 seconds to show your ID to someone GIVE ME A BREAK! The straw man is getting a big beating by lefties these days.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

The incentive to get a fake ID by underage college students is self-evident.

The incentive to commit voter fraud is non-existent.

meggers 7 years, 10 months ago

The main objective of the "public initiative" idea is to get hot button issues on the ballot, so that the right-wing can rally their base to the polls. They did it with the marriage amendment and they'll continue to exploit such issues to gain political advantage every chance they get.

frank mcguinness 7 years, 10 months ago

"As of June 2009, our records indicate a total of seven cases that had been referred to local, state, or federal authorities in the past five years," said secretary of state spokeswoman Abbie Hodgson. "Of those seven cases, only one was prosecuted."

Read more:

citizen4honor 7 years, 10 months ago

Exactly. We have a state with no requirment to register to vote - no id needed and you don't believe there's voter fraud? We changed the rules about 8 years ago so they never purge voter records. What does that mean? Anyone who lived at an address can still be on the voter rolls for that address. Talk about welcoming fraud.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

What's the incentive to commit voter fraud? It'd take an extremely organized effort for to have any significant effect, and the more organized it is, the more likely it is that it'll be discovered.

This is nothing but unfounded paranoia. Those who are possessed of it should seek help, not public office.

RogueThrill 7 years, 10 months ago

Public initiative is what ruined California.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 10 months ago

AND Colorado, and a number of other states.

Yoda51 7 years, 10 months ago

If only some of the advocates of Public Initiative would go back into the very recent past, they could trace how California's Prop.13, a public initiative, was the beginning of the financial debacle that state now finds itself in. Public initiatives sound good until you see them in action! They are an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences which so often follow the knee-jerk responses of popular, but poorly thought out, ballot initiatives. Just say "No" to Public Initiatives.

ScottyMac 7 years, 10 months ago

That is absolutely true. Basically, in California, any well-funded interest group can put any ridiculous thing on the ballot, flood the market with slick ads, rally a group of rabid non-thinkers to the polls, and -voila- a bad law that everyone has to deal with but no one has the power to change.

ScottyMac 7 years, 10 months ago

Of course, if Kris Kobach has read the Federalist Papers -you know, the pamphlets that argued for the governing principles that would emerge as the US Constitution- he would understand Madison's argument against public initiatives. Madison makes a convincing case for a representative democracy, rather than a direct democracy.

Ah, but what do wingnuts like Kris Kobach care about our founding principles?

Yoda51 7 years, 10 months ago

Thank you, Scotty, for reminding others of this very salient point. I was just about to start writing a response when I scrolled down to yours! Well put and right on!

Jimo 7 years, 10 months ago

Because there's nothing right with politics in Kansas that copying California won't undermine!

Agenda-driven, single-purpose, feel good initiatives enacted without integration with the rest of the law, with no consideration of consequences or funding sources, pushing inflexible priorities on government thereby depriving citizens of their constitutional right to elect lawmakers with the power to take action to solve problems.

Kyle Neuer 7 years, 10 months ago

Of all the ideas Kansas could borrow from California, this is, probably, the worst. The proposition system has ruined the place.

Kyle Neuer 7 years, 10 months ago

Of all the ideas Kansas could borrow from California, this is, probably, the worst. The proposition system has ruined the place.

texburgh 7 years, 10 months ago

The initiative process does indeed destroy the quality of life in a state. California is the best example. It happens because voters are quick to approve any tax cut or tax and expenditure limits (prop 13 in CA, TABOR in CO) and then immediately turn around and approve massive expenditure increases. In both CA and CO ballot initiatives led to crippling tax reductions and mandated increases in state spending on popular programs like school class size reductions. Unfortunately voters far too often want more and bigger state programs paid for with someone else's money.

We have a representative democracy that works well. As bad as the Kansas legislature may sometimes appear, it is not Congress and they wrap up successfully every May. And if you don't like what they do, vote them out or better yet, run for office yourself.

Kobach wants this because the extreme conservatives have not been able to push their agenda to destroy state services thanks to the fact that a majority of our legislators is made up of a coalition of Democrats and Kassebaum-Eisenhower Republicans. The intitiative process will allow the Kochs and Kobachs of Kansas to put extremist ideas directly on the ballot and then fund massive media campaigns to dupe the voters. In the end, the regular guys and gals end up on the short end while big corporations and the wealthy benefit.

Jimo 7 years, 10 months ago

"As bad as the Kansas legislature may sometimes appear, it is not Congress..."

True. The Kansas Senate, unlike the U.S. Senate, doesn't give rural, depopulated counties the same vote as urban, growing counties. Nor is the filibuster known in Kansas, where GASP majority rule prevails.

Jimbecile 7 years, 10 months ago

This article could have been a great deal shorter. All it needed to say is "Kobach is an elitist and a racist. All his motives and decisions originate from that jump-off point."

olddognewtrix 7 years, 10 months ago

Kobach is an educated Charlatan--an Elmer Gantry type of husler! His voter fraud program is a solution in search of a problem. His dismal record as Republican Party chairman should give pause to even the most ardent Tea Parier

Paul R Getto 7 years, 10 months ago

Initiative and referendum is a very bad idea; just ask California. It is sold as populism, but rapidly turns into the (for example) Koch Brothers paying people to gather signatures to promote their interests. If Senator Sam gets elected, the corporate welfare types have nothing to fear. He'll try and cut their taxes more, which has been pretty much the plan for Kansas for a number of years. PS: I appreciated the reference to Elmer Gantry; that book should get more play as it will explain many of the phonies now getting attention, on the right and the left.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"that book should get more play as it will explain many of the phonies now getting attention, on the right and the left."

Just curious-- which phonies on the left would you say are Elmer Gantry-like?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Let me get this straight-- you heard rumors about something or other in Wyandotte County, so we should punish them somehow or other.

"Just recently in the 5th District senate race in 2008 Kelly Kultalla admitted to a reporter that she had threatened a business owner for displaying her opponents election sign."

I don't see how a voter ID requirement would prevent this sort of thing happening.

A republican candidate for, I believe, county commission in Johnson County was guilty of stealing the yard signs of his opponent. Does that mean something similar about republican corruption?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"Yard sign theft versus systematic intimidation of businesses and individuals."

If there is the level of corruption in Wyandotte County that you assert, it's already against the law. If law enforcement there is part of that corruption, it's also already against the law. And any laws requiring voter ID would have absolutely zero effect on that alleged corruption.

Undocumented immigrants have absolutely no reason to vote. Why would they commit a felony in order to do so, which not only carries a potential prison sentence, but would automatically get them deported? Given the fact that there is no evidence that any significant number are voting, I'd say there is already plenty of deterrence in place.

Jimo 7 years, 10 months ago

"Voter ID, yes, it may have prevented the late reporting in Wyandotte."

How so?

"It certainly would prevent illegals from voting."

What illegals voting?

There's this weird theme over the last decade or so on the right that tries to create the illusion of some vast scheme of voter fraud (ACORN being only the most lurid example) to explain away why elections don't go their way.

On this, I have to agree with bozo - the contrast between the high stakes risk of voter fraud vs. the low value of impact voter-by-illegal-voter presupposes a conspiracy of size and complexity only to be rivaled by Oliver Stone's fevered theories of JFK's assassination.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 10 months ago

"A Federal Elections Commission audit strongly criticized Kobach's financial management of the Kansas Republican Party. An FEC audit found that when the Kobach led the party, state and federal taxes weren't paid and illegal contributions were accepted."

Just the guy Kansas needs to stop the rampant voter fraud problem.

Stu Clark 7 years, 10 months ago

Doesn't Kansas require voters to register? The time to check for ID is at registration, not at the polls.

pace 7 years, 10 months ago

Kobach is smart? No. I would understand anyone thinking such an extremist is the road to stable efficient government wetting his pants.

I want long impassioned speeches, solid promises and then action on ID theft. Kansas doesn't have to be the patsy for every common crook because we are looking to be the next tea party poster state.

We need an attorney General who concentrates on consumer protection, especially ID theft and fighting Internet crimes and corporate fraud. He/she needs to work with law enforcement in focusing efforts to make them and the communities safer. The right AG could pull the different agencies to work together, more efficiently and end the expensive divisions and territorial chest puffing currently going on. Those are the issues that affect Kansans. We don't need another Kline who spends the AG office resources on kooky fringe hobby horses. We need serious law and regulation enforcement, not grandstanding flag waving and bible thumping charlatanism.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.