Archive for Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What’s the rush?

One major election change is enough for Kansas counties to handle this year.

August 16, 2011


If there was reason to believe that Kansas has a serious problem with noncitizens voting in its elections, it might make sense to rush into a voter registration system designed to stem such abuse.

However, because there is little evidence that such a problem exists, it only makes sense for the state to take a little time to implement the requirement that Kansas residents show proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

The county clerks who actually have to run the elections are saying they have enough changes to deal with in the coming year without adding the proof-of-citizenship requirement. Secretary of State Kris Kobach should respect their opinion.

Earlier this year, the Kansas Legislature approved two laws proposed by Kobach to increase election security in the state: a requirement that voters show proof of their U.S. citizenship when they register to vote and also show photo identification at the polls.

The voter ID law is scheduled to go into effect in January 2012, but lawmakers thought that was enough change for one year, so they pushed the implementation of the proof-of-citizenship requirement back to January 2013. Earlier this month, Kobach said he planned to urge the 2012 Legislature to move the citizenship requirement up to March 2012. His goal is to have both changes in place before the 2012 presidential election.

A statewide task force, which includes Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew, is working on the details to implement both laws — and there are many details to consider. Because 2012 is a presidential election, it will attract many voters who may not have voted since the last presidential election. Some people may have moved during that time. Many voters will not be familiar with the voter ID requirement. Election workers will have to be trained on how to handle various situations, such as people presenting IDs with addresses that don’t match election records or have photos that don’t look a lot like the people presenting them.

During a high-volume presidential election, resolving all of these issues could cause significant delays at the polls. Trying to run a smooth, efficient election despite the new voter ID laws is enough to ask of county election officials. Trying to rush the implementation of the citizenship law would be an invitation to mistakes and frustration for both voters and election officials.

We know that Kobach wants to make Kansas elections the most secure in the nation, but the mistakes that might result from such rapid implementation of the citizenship/registration law pose a greater threat to the integrity of the 2012 elections than the handful of noncitizen voters who might evade current safeguards to cast illegal ballots.


tange 2 years, 8 months ago

"... Our documents are useless, or forged beyond believing Page forty-seven is unsigned, I need it by this evening In the space between our cities, a storm is slowly forming Something eating up our days, I feel it every morning...."


d_prowess 2 years, 8 months ago

I want to know if anyone believes this will change the outcome of a 2012 election in KS? I understand the desire to set up this requirement quickly if it could impact a Senate race or Presidential race, but is there enough fraud to actually have that happen? If not, why not let the process be planned out and implemented in the following election cycle?


tbaker 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes Jafs, I agree. But what hasn't been discussed is what, exactly, is so difficult about getting required documentation? The terms "marginalized" and "disenfranchised" are labels that do not quantify what resource people that you would place into these groups lack that somehow makes voting such a difficult undertaking for them. The labels "imply" some lack of resources, but do not clearly say how the lack of something the rest of us who vote take for granted affect these people. Who wants to make it hard for someone otherwise entitled to vote to do so? No one I'd care to associate with. The point of this isn't to prevent these people from voting, so if some aspect of an effort like this has the unintended consequence of becoming an obstacle for qualified voters, then that needs to be corrected ASAP. Trouble is, using a label doesn't identify the problem we need to solve.


tbaker 2 years, 8 months ago

Wouldn't requiring proof of citizenship only supress illegal alien voter turn out? Why would a legal citizen voter be affraid of this requirement? The last time Kansas had a lot of illegal alien voters come to the ballot box, they voted to join the union as a slave state. Who wants that?


PROAMERICA 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm for figuring out some way to keep these illegal (wetbacks) from voting into office these liberal open borders idiots. I can prove I'm an American citizen.........and will do it before I vote each time. If this is made a law then the liberals will lose probably half their votes!!


lunacydetector 2 years, 8 months ago

the next time i get carded for trying to buy a beer in a bar, i'll remember it is the republicans who are trying to suppress my right to drink.

the articles have just begun as they do about a year before a presidential election that democrats are smarter than republicans....if the democrats are too stupid to whip out their wallet and show their i.d. to vote, then how can they be so smart? you can't have it both ways.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

"We know that Kobach wants to make Kansas elections the most secure in the nation,"

What we know is that Kobach primarily wants two things-- make headlines for himself, and suppress voter turnout.


jayhawxrok 2 years, 8 months ago

Voter fraud is not really an issue, but the racism of Kobach and the right is on full display as they propose wasting our money under the guise of voter fraud which is really designed to keep the elderly, minorities, and the poor from exercising their right to vote.

Reality is 7 cases of voter fraud in Kansas in the last six years. SEVEN.

Is voter fraud a serious issue? Yes, of course in the sense it's a rotten thing to do. But is the issue here of such a damaging nature we need to spend the money to put this law into place and defend the lawsuits that will follow? Seven cases? Hardly epidemic.

How about we investigate and prosecute the people who use phone banks to steer Democratic registered voters to vote at the wrong place or on the wrong day? We don't want what happened in WI to happen here, where David Koch's "Americans for Prosperity" intentionally mailed absentee ballots out with the wrong return date ( a week after the election) and a return address to a dummy PO box instead of the approved lock box for the state. The AFP has a history of this kind of targeted deception and I'd rather we stopped that dead in its tracks than waste money on a voter fraud problem that's not really much of a problem at all.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

The bottom line. Kobach voter ID nonsense is exactly that. Wasting time and tax dollars. There is no legitimate reason for spending tax dollars and time on an issue that does not exist.

Voter ID's can counterfeit their way to success if need be. Just like our money.

IMO voters and Kobach should be concerned with fraud economics:

  1. TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros sells out state governments

  2. The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist(Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion)

  3. Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers under Bush/Cheney sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions and 11 million jobs .

  4. 3 financial institutions were at risk so why $700 billion in bail out money? America duped again!

Tax cuts which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs.

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts were the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

• Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

The writer may have a little too much republican still in the blood. The Brownbacks have no respect for republicans or democrats for that is not on their party agenda.

It is RINO/CINO or nothing. No back talk!!!

When will republicans see the light. Your party is history.

My father in law finally saw the light then left the RINO/CINO party because he is a fiscal conservative/socially responsible republican with at least 50 years under his belt. Evermore stunning he is working with the democrat party in Pennsylvania. The democratic party is a good fit for old school fiscal conservative/socially responsible republicans. The democratic party has moderate republican overtones such as Clinton,Obama and a host of others.


KS 2 years, 8 months ago

cato - This is typical LJW reporting. Good comments. Wonder if they will respond? I doubt it.


cato_the_elder 2 years, 8 months ago

How many local Kansas election officials besides our local Democrat office holder want to put this off? Yesterday's story on this, written by in-the-tank-for-Democrats Scott Rothschild, bore the headline "Election officials want Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to wait on citizenship requirement." Rothschild was able to dig up only one other Kansas election official who agrees with our local Democrat on this, a Saline County Democrat named Don Merriman, who has moved up the chairs and is serving his term as the current president of the Kansas County Clerks and Elected Officials Association, and who also vigorously and publicly opposed the new law before it was passed.

Did Rothschild choose to interview Stacia Long, County Clerk of Seward County, who testified in favor of Kobach's bill before the Kansas legislature? Did the J-W ever consider a more appropriate headline that would have read, "Two Democrat election officials want Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to wait on citizenship requirement?" Based on today's strange editorial, apparently not.


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