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.


cato_the_elder 6 years, 9 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.

P Allen Macfarlane 6 years, 9 months ago

If the Journal World took your advice the headline would have read "Two Democrat and one Republican election officials disagree about Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach desire to implement the citizenship requirement." Or would you have preferred that the newspaper poll all 105 county election officials?

cato_the_elder 6 years, 9 months ago

No, I would have preferred an honest story, namely that those Kansas election officials who have publicly expressed their opposition to implementing this in November of 2012, which is, after all, over a year from now, are primarily Democrats who opposed the bill from the start.

KS 6 years, 9 months ago

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

BigAl 6 years, 9 months ago

Blame the reporter. Although his facts are correct, blame him. Reminds me of when Sarah Palin couldn't handle an interview from Katie Couric and somehow it became Couric's fault.

The fact is, there still is NO evidence of any fraudulent voting in Kansas. None. Why rush this through?

By the way, this newspaper is controlled by right-wing editorials and ownership.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 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.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 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.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 9 months ago

You've posted this 4 times already today, merrill? Have you no limit?

jayhawxrok 6 years, 9 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.

Kate Rogge 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree with you, jayhawxrok. Why isn't Kobach working on ELECTION fraud issues instead of pushing legislation designed solely to repress voter participation in the upcoming 2012 presidential election? He's clearly less interested in protecting Kansans from election fraud than he is determined to restrict Kansas voters. Birth certificates to register? Photo-IDs to vote? A poll tax by any other name is still a poll tax.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 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.

lunacydetector 6 years, 9 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.

tbaker 6 years, 9 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?

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

This has been discussed and debated quite thoroughly.

The concern on the left is that the marginalized and disenfranchised will not be able to easily get the required documentation, and thus not vote.

Orwell 6 years, 9 months ago

or the elderly, or the working poor.

Why does Kris Kobach want to make it harder for people to vote? I mean, other than hoping to bias the results and scare the gullible about the nonexistent hordes of illegal voters

tbaker 6 years, 9 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.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Substitute "poor" if you like.

It costs money, and takes time and energy to get birth certificates, passports, etc. Somebody told a rather involved story about how they were trying to help an elderly woman get some documentation - it took a very long time, and was very difficult.

Is the state going to help people get the required documentation, both financially and otherwise?

You have to understand it in the context of people who are poor, stressed, overwhelmed with the day to day issues of their lives - for them, it may just be something they can't manage, and just give up instead. Especially if they feel that politicians don't really care about them, or represent them, anyway.

tbaker 6 years, 9 months ago

OK. You explained it. There are folks who just can't seem to navigate the impenetrable mysteries of daily life. No doubt this infirmity is the proximate cause of thier being poor. Given this lot in life, asking them to produce proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate so they can vote is a herculean task that the rest of us would consider a routine matter. What vexes me is the affect this philosophy has on legislation. Laws are written with the reasonable man standard in mind. How do you write a law to include every conceivable personal circumstance? At what point do we say something is simply a personal responsibility, and it is not unreasonable to expect the average person to just do it?

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Your lack of compassion/understanding is duly noted.

tbaker 6 years, 9 months ago

Thats what it always comes down to, liberals feel, they care, they have compassion. Conservatives are heartless and uncaring. You've clearly ran out of ideas when you play this card, the last refuge of the intellectually bankrupt. You're lack of depth is duly noted.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Your post says it all - I just pointed out the obvious.

And, I've never accused any large group of people of anything, so "conservatives" are not any one thing or another.

You blame the poor for being poor based on their lack of ability to navigate daily life in a rather condescending manner, failing to grasp the concept that it may very well be the other way around.

You make fun of the idea that some people have more hardships in life than others, and discount that in your thinking.

What would you call it?

tbaker 6 years, 9 months ago

Where did I make fun of anyone? I simply made the point laws have to be based on some common standard. They have be written for the vast majority, not the small exceptions to the rule. People's lives are the sum of their choices. It's not luck, or fate, or the work of some evil force that puts them in the situations you lable as "disadvantaged." The lable itself is a sham. Success in life begins and ends with a willingness to get an education and work hard. Becuase someone did get and education and work hard does not make them "advantaged." They just chose wisely.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

"... is a herculean task that the rest of us would consider a routine matter"

Your insistence that everything in everybody's life is a result of their own actions misses quite a lot.

People are born into different circumstances, different families, in different parts of the country, with different opportunities, different public school systems, different socio-economic groups, etc.

Do the choices people make affect their lives? Of course. But that's not the only factor involved.

I sometimes try to imagine what my life might have been like if I'd been born as a minority, to poor parents who lived in a dangerous ghetto neighborhood, with a lot of gang activity, seeing people get killed before they reach 18 on a routine basis, etc.

If you think it would have been the same as it has been for me, having been born to well educated parents, a white male, in a relatively safe neighborhood, knowing nobody who was killed young, etc. I think you're quite mistaken.

tbaker 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm not missing a thing Jafs. The number of success stories that start out with someone on a dirt floor and an empty belly are too numerous to mention. Sure, the lot in life someone is born into certainly influences and contributes to a person's ability to make a success out of their life, but at some point around the age of 21, the time to blame the circumstances you were born into are over. At some point, the person in the mirror, and the sum of the choices that person makes, is the single causative factor which determines how a person's life turns out. All lot of things affect the outcome of a person's life, but none so great as that. Calling someone "disadvantaged" because their life has been one bad decision after another is like blaming spoons for the fact Rosie O'Donnell is fat. I sure don't like to see human failures that result in someone being destitute and vulnerable. It saddens me, but the difference between you and me is, I don't feel like that person deserves anything I have worked for, nor do I feel the state should compel me to care for him. That doesn't mean I won't donate my time and money to the local charities, I feel an obligation to help my fellow man, but I insist people be given that choice. The fact someone's life turned out bad is not a reason to take my or anyone else's liberty.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

That would conveniently leave out all the young people who are killed in gang violence (often as innocent bystanders) before they even reach 21.

Unlike you, I feel that as a society, we should be helping people who start off with several strikes against them, and not leave it to private charity.

Again, you are greatly underestimating the effect of where one is born, in my view, and the various social issues that some fact and others don't face, like racism/discrimination/etc.

To make an arbitrary line at age 21, and not understand how one's life until them affects many things, including decision making, seems silly to me.

But, I'm sure neither one of us will convince the other, and I don't see much point in going over the same ground numerous times.

We have a disagreement that will not be resolved, I think.

tbaker 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm underestimating or you are over-estimating. Agree to disagree. I do believe society has a responsibility to provide safety nets. Government can and should do that. I believe many of those nets have turned into hammocks though. Its hard to estimate how much private charity could do because much of that role has been taken from them. Government should clear a path for charity, and make giving even more attractive for people. We are the most generous country in the world.

d_prowess 6 years, 9 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?

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