Archive for Tuesday, December 27, 2011

SW Kansas election is 1st test of new voter ID law

December 27, 2011, 11:57 a.m. Updated December 27, 2011, 4:53 p.m.


— A southwestern Kansas town's election next month on the financing of a new municipal swimming pool will be the first test of a much-debated state law that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls.

The law takes effect Sunday. On Jan. 10, the 2,200 residents of Cimarron, about 175 miles west of Wichita, will decide whether to impose a 1.25 percent sales tax to help finance the new pool and cover its operating costs.

Gray County Clerk Bonnie Swartz said Tuesday that she's not anticipating significant problems, though she expects some voters will be frustrated if they forget to bring ID. She said if turnout is strong, 40 percent of registered voters, or about 480 people, may cast ballots.

"There are going to be some who say, 'You know who I am,'" she said. "It's harder to enforce this type of a law in a small community because everybody knows everybody."

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who pushed legislators earlier this year to enact the photo ID requirement as an anti-fraud measure, said he plans to travel to Gray County to observe the voting. He said his office is planning an education campaign ahead of the poll.

"It will give us some indicators of how the voters will respond to the new requirement," Kobach said. "We'll be collecting data on what percentage of people forget their IDs."

In pushing for the law, Kobach released a report showing that the secretary of state's office had received about six dozen reports of election irregularities involving more than 200 ballots from 1997 through 2010. He took the reports as a sign of a bigger problem, but skeptics said the scanty count of complaints didn't justify a voter ID law that could suppress turnout among poor, minority and elderly voters.

Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, said he doubts an election on a local ballot question in a small town is a good test of how the law will work in the presidential election.

"I think we just have to do our best to get the word out to people and make sure that it is a forgiving process for those who are trying to comply with the law and simply forget their IDs," he said.

The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing a photo ID law in Texas and last week blocked South Carolina from implementing its new statute requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, during a speech in Texas earlier this month, called on political parties to "resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success."

Kansas legislators also approved a Kobach proposal this year to require people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to produce proof that they're citizens, but that requirement doesn't take effect until January 2013.

Kobach, who served in the Justice Department under former Republican President George W. Bush, has criticized the Holder-led Justice Department for being overly political and has expressed confidence that the law won't suppress turnout.

The law taking effect Sunday lists eight forms of photo ID that will be valid at the polls, including a driver's license, a state identification card, a military ID or a state permit to carry a concealed handgun. Also, if people forget ID, the law allows them to cast a provisional ballot, then provide ID to county election officials in the next few days, before results are certified.

Cimarron has one polling place, and Swartz said it will be staffed by seven experienced poll workers. Also, she said, it's a 4-H building about a quarter-mile from town, and if voters drive there, they should have acceptable ID with them.

Swartz, also a Republican, said she doesn't have a problem with the law but, "There's not rampant voter fraud."

Cimarron officials estimate the new sales tax will raise $215,000 a year, backing $2.3 million worth of bonds for the new pool's construction, with money left over to cover annual operating costs. The new pool would replace a 40-year-old one that is leaking.

Mayor Gilbert Benton said the city is timing the election so the new facility is ready by Memorial Day 2013, when the pool typically opens.

As for Cimarron providing the first test of the voter ID law, Benton said, "Honestly, we didn't think about that."


KS 6 years, 5 months ago

Good place to start. A small community.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Yea, I'm sure there lots of little old ladies with no birth certificates who need to get kicked off the voter roles.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

A lot harder than it was before, all to solve a problem that doesn't exist-- unless you're the Republican Party and see full voter participation as a problem.

oldvet 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe the bozo doesn't have the required ID... what a pleasant thought...

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

I never figured he was old enough to vote yet

Paul R Getto 6 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

You explained it quite well, Pman. It's much harder than it previously was, which is the whole intent. The harder it is, the fewer people that will vote-- exactly the desired result.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

A small community where everyone knows one another ... exactly the kind of place where this law isn't actually needed.

Show me your papers!

1029 6 years, 5 months ago

Taxes are to high already. Vote NO on the new pool. Them kids can swim in the lake like people been doing for years.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 5 months ago === Since their enrollment is about 30% Hispanic, this will add interest to the election. 1029, I assume you live there since you have an opinion on this, and that you went to one of those 'inferior' schools that failed to teach you "to, too, and too."

Fossick 6 years, 5 months ago

Do they learn about "two," too? Or just wear tu-tus?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 5 months ago

The voter fraud is in the electronic voting devices. Voter ID cannot prevent electronic fraud!

Computers are inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering. If we are to ensure fair and honest elections, and retain voter confidence in our democratic process, we need to ensure that there are no such questions.

Therefore, it is crucial that any computerized voting system provide a voter-verifiable paper audit trail and that random audits of electronic votes be conducted on Election Day. Paperless electronic voting machines make it impossible to safeguard the integrity of our vote - thereby threatening the very foundation of our democracy.

Moreover, the seller of the machines, the Diebold Corporation, is a supplier of money to one of the major party candidates, George W. Bush. The CEO and top officers of Diebold are major contributors to the Bush campaign. A corporation with vested political interests should not have control over the votes of the populace.

Voters using Diebold machines should immediately report any suspected malfunctions or deficiencies at voting precincts to their Board of Elections. Voters should also urge their legislators to require a voter verified paper ballot trail for random audits and independent recounts. Count every vote!

Paul R Getto 6 years, 5 months ago

Merrill: Bingo. Small prize for you, bubba. He who owns the software owns the elections. Someday we'll see how they did it in Ohio in 2004. Use paper ballots with scanners that can be stored for recounts and reference. The only reason we are using computers is because the news networks want to call the elections immediately after the polls close. Who cares? Get it right, double check, then report the results.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago


Thanks Nader for saving us from idiot gore.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 5 months ago

Who needs new ID cards. Lawrence voters have been asked for ID for the past 25 years that I know of. At least I have been asked.

Drivers license or state ID card have been working well.

Of course Gov Brownback has been living in Washington DC for about 30 years or so. How would he know?

kochmoney 6 years, 5 months ago

How many fraudulent votes did they catch? Registrations don't count unless they're translated to actual fraudulent votes.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

24,000 fraudulent registrations is good for 100,000 fraudulent votes in the hands of union thugs. Thank goodness Koch money is killing unions across America. The sooner we make unions completely impotent and every state right-to-work, the sooner we will get out from under the obamadepression.

Getting rid of the current clown in chief and nullifying his goofy policies won't hurt either.

kochmoney 6 years, 5 months ago

And you have evidence that any of this alleged voter fraud happend beyond your feverish troll baiting and creative use of hyperbole and red herrings? Of course not.

You're sounding a little more frothy than usual today, btw. I do hope everything is ok at Casa Libertysomenumbers. Holidays are hard on some people. I do hope you get help if you need it.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 5 months ago

"The opponents of this new voter ID law simply don't want to close the cheater loophole so more Democrats will be elected." In state that has voted predominantly Republican for over 40 years. Hmmmm....Maybe it's not the Dems that are cheating.....

onceinawhile 6 years, 5 months ago

Can a college student at a Kansas school who is from out of state and has another state's license, register to vote and actually vote in Kansas with this law?

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

I believe they can, but of course they have to forfeit their right to vote in their hometown to do so.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

"merrill (anonymous) says… Who needs new ID cards. Lawrence voters have been asked for ID for the past 25 years that I know of. At least I have been asked...." Yeah, but you are probably on a watch list.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

South Carolina's submission to the Justice Department did not offer any evidence of voter fraud that was not addressed by existing law and that arguably could be deterred by requiring voters to present only photo identification at the polls.

Their law has been struck down. Kansas will have the same fate, net result, poor and minorities will not be disenfranchised from the vote.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

Remember, the Current Regime's line is "A little voter fraud never hurt anyone."

kochmoney 6 years, 5 months ago

As opposed to a lot of voter suppression never hurting a big corporation.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 5 months ago

"Anonymous behavior in society keeps one safe."

It most certainly does ;P

BigAl 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't have a problem showing ID to vote. It might even be a good idea. However, let's not pretend there has been a problem with voter fraud. There hasn't. Kobach was elected in this red state because he was a republican. Period. And now Kobach will be in Cimarron to "observe the voting". Are you kidding me? This is a town where most of the poll workers personally know the voters. But our Secretary of State will be there to protect us all from voter fraud.

If Kobach were a Democrat, the right-wingers would be screaming of how he is trying to destroy the constitution, their personal rights and their freedoms. It is all politics. Bad politics.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

your love of hysteria is clear. Disenfranchise voters in the name of saving voters from a problem that does not really exist because your scared it might exist despite no evidence that even if it did exist could be dealt with by existing law...and you are also one who wants less government.

Do you not realize how foolish you look?

BigAl 6 years, 5 months ago

its_just_math. Can you document and show any of us any voter fraud in Kansas? Anywhere? Anytime?
Why do far-right-wingers fabricate non-existent problems? Why do far-right-wingers hate freedom?

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago


You do realize that your map didn't include any citations of ACORN problems in KS, which is what Al's question asked, don't you?

progressive_thinker 6 years, 5 months ago

Can you show where any ballot was actually cast that might impact the outcome of an election? The material that you point to was with regard to some unscrupulous folks that worked for ACORN, that submitted faked registrations because they were being paid on the number of registrations submitted. I have not yet seen any convictions for actual ballot box stuffing that would impact the outcome of an election.

Again, what I am interested in is if there is an example of a vote being illegally cast that could have been prevented by a poll side ID requirement.

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

Good point.

Also, apparently whatever laws exist were sufficient to find and prosecute these cases.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 5 months ago

Jafs: yes, this is the point I am trying to make.

If memory serves me correctly, Kobach was only able to point to two ballots that were illegally cast that might have been prevented by the ID requirement. [In total, there were 221 allegations of fraud that occurred over a 13 year period, most of which would not have been prevented by the ID law.] Given that there are 1.7 million registered voters in Kansas, it hardly looks like a serious issue.

Have a great day.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

No, it's not leftist Democrats who are casting fraudulent votes.

It's negro felons and illegal immigrant Mesicans who are doing that. This is why such folks dominate the legislature and hold every statewide office.

Such a scandal!! Thank gawd for Kris K Kobach.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

No, my sarcasm is directed toward the racism behind these voter suppression laws.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

"Yes, the law is political, it is aimed at voter suppression,"

Ooh, a little honesty. How rare of you.

"it is targeting and suppressing the illegal voter."

Well, that didn't last long.

" Why is that a threat?"

Because the "illegal voter" was already very adequately suppressed.

Which makes your "honesty" above little more than a bald-faced lie.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

The incidence of voter fraud has been well documented-- it doesn't exist.

And that ain't no dogma. Just facts-- something you clearly know little about.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

After all, in Reagan country, Alzheimer's is the order of the day.

Fossick 6 years, 5 months ago

So when implementation of the law a) inconveniences no one, and b) stops no fraud, can we be sure to have this same hysterical conversation in November?

progressive_thinker 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, I have seen this article before.There are at least two problems with trying to use this information to support a voter ID law.

First problem: 221 allegations in 13 years hardly qualifies as a rampant problem of vote fraud. There is nothing out there that suggests that there was any level of fraud that would even come close to impacting the outcome of an election. If you read the source documents [Kobach's own article], there were actually only 7 cases which actually resulted in a conviction. The others remain allegations. In many of the cases where a ballot was actually cast [folks on probation/parole], the ballot was a provisional ballot, and was never counted. In short, there were adequate safeguards in place. Contrary to Phoenixman's assertion, Kobach's research was not limited to Johnson and Wyandotte counties, so it appears that the 221 cases of alleged fraud [that's 17 per year] is spread over 1.7 million registered voters in Kansas.

Second problem: The article does not, with the exception of two cases in the last paragraph, point to any cases that might have been prevented by a poll site identification requirement.

From my perspective, this whole thing is an example of how conservatives/libratarians will, on one hand complain loudly about government intrusion and unnecessary expenditure of tax dollars, and then on the other hand insist on government intrusion and unnecessary expenditure of tax dollars when it fulfills their political aims, regardless of the lack of evidence to support their position.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 5 months ago

There are actually more problems, given the types of alleged fraud, and the time frame in which the alleged fraud occurred,

It was noted that a large number of allegations were of convicted felons casting provisional ballots.

Nothing really prevents a convicted felon from voting so long as they have completed the terms of any sentence, probation, or parole. For a substantial number of the years cited by Kobach, Kansas had no means of notifying voting officials who was or was not under supervision, even if the conviction was from a Kansas court. To this date, there is no such means to track this if the conviction is out of state. As well, someone may well have completed terms of supervision, and not been issued a certificate of discharge. Finally, there is still such a thing as "unsupervised probation" in some jurisdictions, where discharge certificates might not be issued. If such a person registered to vote, that could lead to an allegation of voter fraud. None of this would have been caught by the poll site ID law.

A second problem is that of residency. The Kansas constitution [article 5] provides that a resident of an area is a qualified elector for that area, but does not set a residency length. So if someone has a "fluid" housing situation their residency might be called into question, however, it would be difficult to prove that they intended to cast a fraudulent ballot, with the aim to upset an election. The residency issue is further clouded when one understands that the Kansas constitution allows non residents to vote for president and vice president in person or by absentee ballot. Article 5 " A citizen of the United States, who is otherwise qualified to vote in Kansas for presidential electors and candidates for the offices of president and vice-president of the United States may vote for such officers either in person or by absentee ballot notwithstanding the fact that such person may have become a nonresident of this state if his or her removal from this state occurs during a period in accordance with federal law next preceding such election." Again, the voter ID law would not likely have prevented any of these cases.

Again, the low number of allegations of fraud, coupled with the circumstances of the allegations that do exist make this law fully unnecessary.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 5 months ago

The allegation is that 341 fraudulent votes cast in that election by persons ineligible due to a felony conviction. The voter ID law would not have prevented this. This would only have been prevented by hiring folks to research felony records, by way of a criminal background check during voter registration. Are you suggesting that we now go to that expense also?

To my knowledge, no one has conclusively shown that these illegal ballots were backed by a "democratic machine"

Additionally, there was no real proof that they changed the outcome of the election.

pace 6 years, 5 months ago

"Liberal's say the poor and minorities will be disenfranchised to vote if they have to have identification."

What puzzles me is why conservative don't say it. It is obvious and sad. We have elected another goofball, Kobach, to an office, an office which should be charged with encouraging and enabling voter turnout. Instead we have someone who does not seem concerned that many Kansas citizens will go to their voting place and be denied. Not just ID, specific IDs. Very little education in Kansas has been undertaken to show what ID are allowed. What if you voter registration doesn't exactly match their state ID name, mine doesn't. My passport does. Will I be able to use either? Some elderly people who used an expired ID, which in their state was allowed, was denied their vote, falsly accused of perhaps being illegal aliens. They got a "sorry" from their conservative government, but they didn't get to vote. I think in our democracy, if a government official denies or purposely impedes a citizen their legal right to vote, the sucker should go to jail. Some of the new conservative laws restrict encouragement of voter registration so that it is almost impossible for normal people to go to their neighbors and encourage them to register. The fear mongering and false data used to make these laws, are a spin. The laws aren't aimed at the small amount of voter fraud, they are aimed to control who votes.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 5 months ago

I find it amazing that the worries from the fanatic right of voter fraud are frantic and near hysteria level when we are talking about the poor and minorities voting.

But the concept of Voter fraud from the Daibold machines when Daibold himself was also working on George Bush's campaign staff is never considered.

It is not the vote that is sacred to the fanatic right, it is who votes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

No photo ID will be required of Republicans voting in the Iowa caucuses. Can we really trust the results?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

"Kansas elected Kobach to fix a problem."

Still stuck on that lie, I see.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

By the way, you don't have to be a resident-- you just have to get someone to swear that you are on an affidavit. Of course, it's a rather serious felony to lie about it, but by Kobach's line of thinking, even though such laws have proved thoroughly adequate for a long time, that's not good enough. But it seems to be good enough for Iowa Republicans.

Go figure.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

I think I'm beginning to get it. Although you can't fix something that isn't broken, if you break it first, then you can fix it.

So Kobach has broken it. We'll see if it can now be fixed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

By your logic, a policeman should climb inside a bunker and never set foot on the street.

pace 6 years, 5 months ago

I am offended you are willing to let a thousand Kansans lose their vote, because of your fear of possible and rare voter fraud, mistake. I think a secretary general should protect and encourage the citizens right to vote. Kobach should go to jail for his reliance on criminal lies and stats.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

If you say a thousand eligible voters are going to be disenfranchised, I think you need to prove that. And I think the same standard of proof that would be required for proving that illegal votes have been cast would be necessary.
The fact is that if even one eligible voter is disenfranchised, that is too many. But if even one illegal vote is cast and counted, that also is one too many.

pace 6 years, 5 months ago

I am not able to prove events that probably will occur. My estimate of a thousand people losing their vote, due to Kobach's shenanigans is probably very low. I noticed that some of Kobach's claims were found to be false. That was public knowledge, if people wanted to know. He was still elected and the legislature heeded his direction. I still hold my belief that our vote is a precious right, and the office should be most concerned with protecting that right, and that is not his focus. Time, courts, and the people will have to correct this or if it doesn't, we shall see more convenient solutions.

pace 6 years, 5 months ago

I read a wide variety of articles and statistics from this area and other regions. I also have compared Kansas to other states for years. I was always relieved to see Kansas had an good history of low voter fraud. We had a problem in our early history but many of the mechanisms we put in place over the decades kept us pretty clean. Yes I am making an estimate.
You, on the other hand, seem to have faith in the current and fashionable spin. You are certainly welcome to read,research and present your precise list of claims.
You and I have different priorities and understanding. My estimate of 1000 people losing their vote is probably low.

pace 6 years, 5 months ago

No substantiation but several newspaper articles, statistics and Kobach admitting some of his information "claims' was inaccurate. One guy he claimed to be dead was alive, small difference. Your requirements that someone feed you information easily researched isn't that tempting. I would have to check to see if you had a bib on before I bothered hand spooning you public information. Toughen up and get some information from sources other than fox. Come on, you can do it. I don't buy into your, I can't figure out how to do research on my own.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.