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Archive for Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kobach, Biggs spar over voter registration records

October 28, 2010, 1:19 p.m. Updated October 28, 2010, 7:44 p.m.

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Election 2010

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2010 Kansas Elections: Kansas Secretary of State

Chris Biggs, Kris Kobach, Phillip Horatio Lucas and Derek Langseth are running for Kansas Secretary of State.

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— Kansas election officials cast doubt Thursday on Republican Kris Kobach’s claim to have evidence of possible voter fraud, and the candidate for secretary of state faced an ethics complaint filed by a Democratic Party staffer.

Kobach, a Kansas City-area law professor and former state GOP chairman, has made election fraud his biggest issue in trying to oust Democratic incumbent Chris Biggs, who says Kobach exaggerates the potential threat.

“It’s clear that the Biggs campaign is trying to distract people away from the real issue of voter fraud,” Kobach said.

During a news conference Thursday, Kobach said his campaign had discovered a possible example of a vote being cast in the name of a dead man in Sedgwick County during the August primary. Kobach also cited a report by KSBH-TV in Kansas City that covered a potentially similar case in Johnson County.

But officials in those two counties said both ballots were cast by living voters who were properly registered.

Kobach said the state’s voter registration rolls include hundreds of dead people. He cited a report this week by KSHB-TV that almost 2,000 names on Kansas’ rolls matched a list of deaths compiled by the federal Social Security Administration.

Biggs’ office confirmed that a comparison of the federal deaths list with voter rolls produced almost 2,000 possible matches, out of more 1.7 million registrations. But Biggs spokesman Tyler Longpine said a quick review showed at least two-thirds of the potential matches were “false positives,” something the TV report acknowledged.

As Kobach wrapped up his news conference, the Democratic Party announced a complaint against him over 20 contributions to his campaign. Executive Director Kenny Johnston, filed it Thursday with the state Governmental Ethics Commission.

The complaint alleges five contributions to Kobach exceeding the $2,000 maximum allowed by law, including three from his parents. It alleges six contributions violated a law against named donors giving more than $100 in cash and nine violate a law against anonymous donations of cash above $10.

Biggs said later that the complaint and Kobach’s “shotgun approach” on election fraud issues demonstrate that the Republican is unfit for the office.

“He misrepresents statistics,” Biggs said. “He jumps to conclusions. He’s not careful about details.”

Kobach said he’s confident none of his donors exceeded the legal contribution limit, adding that Democrats either are misreading his report or, possibly, finding typographical errors. He called their allegations “laughably trivial.”

As far as the registration rolls, he said anyone who checks them can see they need to be “cleaned up.”

During his news conference, Kobach said six counties — Cherokee, Graham, Hodgeman, Nemaha, Rawlins and Smith — have more registered voters than residents 18 and older. The Associated Press compared preliminary registration figures for Oct. 1 with census population estimates from 2009 to verify the claim.

Election officials in several counties said they check for obituaries and death certificates regularly and use Social Security data as verification, but confirmation can be slow if someone dies out of state. Also, they said, federal law limits the purging of inactive voters’ names.

In Smith County, the number of registered voters, 3,325, is 9 percent higher than the census estimate for the voting-age population, the greatest disparity. But County Clerk Sharon Wolters noted that more than 300 voters are inactive and many will be dropped from the rolls after the election.

She also said the census figures may underestimate the population in rural areas.

Wolters, a Republican, said a candidate for secretary of state should have checked on such issues before having a news conference, adding, “I was a little disappointed.”

Also during his news conference, Kobach cited a ballot in the August primary from Alfred K. Brewer, of Wichita, as potentially questionable. He noted a person by that name died in 1996.

But Bill Gale, Sedgwick County’s election commissioner, said the vote was cast by the deceased man’s son, now in his 70s. He said registration records automatically listed the voter’s date of birth as Jan. 1, 1900 because only ages, not dates, were required when he first registered in 1964.

Brewer, a registered Republican, did not return a telephone message.

In Johnson County, a deceased resident was credited with voting in November 2008. But Election Commissioner Brian Newby said another voter simply signed the wrong line in a poll book, and the records have since been corrected.

Comments

Centerville 4 years, 1 month ago

Wait til you hear what's been happening in Cherokee County. Biggs will try to ignore that, too. He should stick with banjo plucking.

citizen4honor 4 years, 1 month ago

What is anyone suppose to do with an anonymous donation that arrives over $10? Throw it out? Pocket it? You still have to record the money then donate it to charity. It cant be spent. Biggs is trying to distract us. The voter rolls are a mess. Anyone who has looked at them knows that. Ability for fraud is in plain sight. I think Biggs is ticked coz Kobach has so many supporters and Biggs only has union, lawyer buddies and special interest groups buying him. Go Kobach.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

"Anyone who has looked at them knows that."

Exactly how have you looked at them, and what are your precise findings? How have you verified these findings? Who can corroborate them?

notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

"But Biggs spokesman Tyler Longpine said a quick review showed at least two-thirds of the potential matches were “false positives,”"

Which means around 700 of them weren't.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

Ooooh!! 700 out of 1.7 million, and we know that every one of those represents a fraudulent vote that will totally subvert the honest result of every election in the state (which, of course, means that Democrats will win every race.)

There's only one thing we can do. Panic!!! Run for the hills!!! The evil Democrats are stealing elections!!!!!!

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

It's not a large number.

But in a close race, it could make a difference.

Why not improve the system?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

Who can argue with "improving" the system?

But what should it be improved to? Should the standard be 100% certainly that no unqualified votes are ever cast?

The data presented here show that these voter rolls are 99.96% accurate and up-to-date. Could that sway some razor-thin close elections? Maybe every 100 years or so. But more likely, never.

At what (and whose) cost should perfect elections come, and who gets to define "perfect?" Who loses their right to vote merely so a meaningless level of perfection is achieved?

notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

No it does not. Assuming your math is correct, it actually only says they found a .04% error rate, it does not mean there isn't more.

notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

"Ooooh!! 700 out of 1.7 million"

I didn't see the KSHB story. Did you? If these county clerks can't even keep up with their own voter rolls with a couple of years between elections, I find it hard to believe that a TV station working under the time constraints of a daily news show actually checked all 1.7 million voters.

And bozo? If you see one cockroach, you don't have to see all of them to know you've got a bug problem.

And BTW, bozo - what was the final margin of victory for George Bush in Florida in 2000? How about the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

"Democratic incumbent Chris Biggs, who says Kobach exaggerates the potential threat."

He's not exaggerating it. He's creating it.

Joshua Montgomery 4 years, 1 month ago

Kobach - "Now, Ben, I need some ideas if I'm going to get your town out of the serious trouble it's in"

Davis - "But, River City isn't in any trouble"

Kobach - "Not yet, anyway, We're going to have to create some. Must create a desperate need in your town for a right wing nut job."

"Say, why does everybody keep rubbering into the courthouse?"

Davis - "They just got in a new polling station"

Kobach - "Oh, they must have seen a polling station before"

Davis - "No, just voting booths."

Kobach - "That'll do it, you just sit tight and watch me work"

"Excuse me, sir, but would you happen to be the owner of this store?"

Kansan - "Yes, that's me"

Kobach - "And has it by any chance come to your attention that right next door to your fine establishment is a courthouse that has just gotten a polling station?"

Kansan - "Well, yes"

Kobach - "Well, ya got trouble, my friend, Right here, I say trouble right here in River City"

Kansans - Tuble, oh we got trouble, Right here in River City! With a capital "T" That rhymes with "P" And that stands for Poll, That stands for poll. We've surely got trouble! Right here in River City, Right here! Gotta figger out a way To keep the young ones moral after school! Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble...

ivalueamerica 4 years, 1 month ago

At any moment will they talk about issues the majority of us consider much more important?

notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

"But County Clerk Sharon Wolters noted that more than 300 voters are inactive and many will be dropped from the rolls after the election."

Uh, yeah. Let's leave them on the rolls until after the election.

I wonder if Ms. Wolters owns a barn with a sign on the door saying "please lock up on the way out"?

notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

How long has it been since the last election? Think they had more than 90 days there, vertigo?

Jimo 4 years, 1 month ago

A) Inactive means not voting for a series of elections. There is always going to be a final inactive election that gives the election officials authority to finally remove a registrant. Duh.

B) After decades of GOP trickery, federal election law forbids removing people immediately before an election. Sorry but your old tricks to suppress voting catch up with you eventually.

notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

So you've personally checked the entire inactive list to see how long each person has been inactive? Or, as usual, are you just talking out of your posterior?

Recent stories, including, if I remember, one that appeared in this newspaper, reported that some of the inactives have been on the list quite a bit longer than required by federal law (two consecutive general elections). If it was just a matter of meeting the federal standard for a minimum waiting period, one might think that the percentages of inactive voters would be consistent across states and within states. It is not. Overall Kansas has about 8% of their voters on the inactive list, with some counties over 20%.

BTW, the same law you refer to enacted "after decades of GOP trickery" is the same law that requires elections boards to make efforts to clean up the list and ensure the accuracy of their voter registrations. But I didn't expect you to know that.

somebodynew 4 years, 1 month ago

vertigo - you are assuming that Kolbach actually cares about Federal Law. I think the only laws he cares about are the ones he writes (even if they aren't legal).

And beside, he is one of those to whom laws don't apply. Just ask him.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 1 month ago

Here's a photo of the dead guy in Wichita http://www.kansas.com/2010/10/29/1562791/dead-folks-voting-at-least-ones.html

Ooooooooh, scary! The zombies are coming! The zombies are coming!

Thanks to Kris Kobach for protecting us from the zombies.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 1 month ago

More holes in the logic of the fearless zombie fighter and his loyal troops...

"Just because you have statistical numbers doesn't mean you have voter fraud," said Sharon Wolters, Smith County clerk. "Those people aren't voting."

Her county has 3,342 registered voters, 308 of whom are listed as inactive, which means the office has attempted multiple time contact them and received no response. The names could be people who died in another state or who moved away and the state had not yet been notified.

Even after the attempts to contact voters, federal law requires the names stay on the lists through two general elections, she said.

But as we all know, that federal law was probably passed by Obama! Scary! Run and hide from Obama and zombies!

notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Actually, some of us knew it was passed in 1993. But as usual, thanks for ranting.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 1 month ago

"What is anyone suppose to do with an anonymous donation that arrives over $10? Throw it out? Pocket it? You still have to record the money then donate it to charity. It cant be spent."

...

Um, according to the Kobach finance report it was a check.

Now, I've been told that Kansas is a backwater state being run by thieving librulz because we don't require an ID when you vote.

After all, I have to produce an ID when I use a check! Unless of course I write a check to Kris Kobach, then I don't even have to put my name on it...

Jimo 4 years, 1 month ago

“It’s clear that the Biggs campaign is trying to distract people away from the real issue of mental influence from extraterrestrial aliens,” Kobach said. "The evidence is there if you want to see it badly enough."

Flap Doodle 4 years, 1 month ago

“It’s clear that the Kobach campaign is trying to distract people away from the real issue of mental influence from head-busting SEIU puppy-kickers,” Biggs said. "The evidence is there if you want to see it badly enough." Gosh, just making up quotes is fun.

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