Letters to the Editor

Insipid proposal

February 2, 2011


To the editor:

Our new secretary of state has decided that combating voter fraud is the most important use of his time. Never mind that elections are an ancillary duty of the office which exists primarily to facilitate corporate filings. Never mind that there are 105 duly elected county clerks who also have authority over elections. Never mind that requiring a voter to present photo ID to poll officials who have known that individual for upwards of 20 years may strike one as insipid. Move ahead.

Mr. Kobach is four or five years older than my son, so he and I may have different world views. As one who lived through the entire Cold War, I was always of the opinion that we were the ones who did not say, “Your papers, please.” That was definitely the message I got from movies, television and ROTC. That was the message I got from my father and three uncles who had their lives interrupted in 1942 to deal with countries who registered and regulated their citizens.

I had always understood that my word was good and that I would do what was my duty. Voting is a sacred right I was willing to bear arms to defend. I still am, but I doubt that I would be a lot of use. If this law that is probably unconstitutional and definitely insipid and unnecessary passes, I will present all the necessary documents in 2014 to challenge Mr. Kobach in the Republican primary — and old men don’t pull punches.


Daniel Dicks 5 years ago

I knew Kobach would be as entertaining as Music Man. Great LTE. I might have to cross party vote.

Rex Russell 5 years ago

It's nice to see a letter with a little testicular fortitude, once in a while.

Corey Williams 5 years ago

Nice try, Nancyboy.
Nope, "unnecessary" is the right word as it is a description of the law.

So, you're saying that boring people have "co-opted the Democratic Party", but they are also somehow dangerous enough that "nothing---nothing, is beyond them ."

You mean like bringing guns to political events?

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

"Yaddayaddayadda Democrats bad." Yaddayaddayadda Republicans good." There. I fixed it for ya Tommy.

parrothead8 5 years ago

What kind of voting shenanigans are you talking about? I read that they've only found, on average, about 16 questionable ballots per election in Kansas since 1997. Why do we need to spend time and money on what is so clearly a non-issue when we've got much larger problems afoot?

jaywalker 5 years ago

Plenty of passion here, but plenty of mistakes as well.
Working on this one issue is "the most important use of his time"? I'm willing to bet that Kobach is working on several issues simultaneously and the writer has no idea how much time he's spending doing anything.
As to the first use of the word "insipid": do you really believe that polling volunteers actually know everyone that walks through those doors? Please. This is not a "your papers please" comparison. This is matching a name with a name like roll call in a classroom, not the Gestapo monitoring movement around a city or thru a train station.

jaywalker 5 years ago

Except teachers aren't worring about someone calling 'here' for someone they're not. By the way, did you go to KU? How many times did you have to show your KU ID to take an exam?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"I'm willing to bet that Kobach is working on several issues simultaneously and the writer has no idea how much time he's spending doing anything. "

Really? What are they?

"As to the first use of the word "insipid": do you really believe that polling volunteers actually know everyone that walks through those doors?"

They probably know a high percentage of those voters, which is an obvious and obviously effective layer of the security that's already in place. And any concerted attempt to impersonate voters, which is what would be required in order to actually affect an election, would be easily detected. The fact that voter fraud all but non-existent shows that there is nothing broken to fix.

Kobach is an arrogant, narcissistic jerk, so I can understand why you like him. Nevertheless, this is demagoguery, pure and simple, and has no place in effective governance done in a democratic spirit.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

OMG! You said the "D" word! HIDE!

jaywalker 5 years ago

Seriously, bozo? You believe the secretary of state is fixated on one issue and doing nothing else? Nothing like a rational mind at work.

Yeah, a poll worker might know a "high percentage" of the locals.......... if they live in a burg with a pop. of 2000! Sorry, but believing such is an "obvious and obviously effective layer of the security that's already in place" is just plain ridiculous.

That's a lovely comparison, bozo, shame you know jack about me, but then that just shines a light as to the credibility of all your other opinions. If you could put the animosity aside for a sec, answer me this: if there's fraud of any kind, why not attempt to stamp it out? Elections are the mechanisms by which we select our representatives. Given that the integrity of the process is central to democracy, let alone your "democratic spirit", how is it you'd compromise on the need for fair elections to be determined without the taint of fraud, no matter the source, or scope?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

" if there's fraud of any kind, why not attempt to stamp it out?"

If there were any indications at all, anywhere in the country, that voter fraud is actually happening, and I don't mean a few "irregularities," then it might require adopting additional measures, such as voter ID. But there aren't, and Kobach doesn't seem to believe that's it's necessary to do anything but assert that it's a problem, even though all data available says he's wrong.

""obvious and obviously effective layer of the security that's already in place" is just plain ridiculous."

There you go, just like Kobach. You think that mere assertion makes something true. Certainly, it's not ironclad security, and neither is signing your name as you vote. But it works. And why does it work? Two reasons-- there is no incentive to commit voter fraud on a retail basis, and if it's done on a wholesale, organized basis (the only way it can affect the outcome of an election) it's very easily detectable.

So untwist your panties, and be happy that the voter fraud you so fear doesn't happen-- at all.

usnsnp 5 years ago

Don't know how much voter fraud there has been in Kansas over the last couple of years, but before a bill to change things is placed before the legislature I would have hard numbers. I would have theis numbers sorted to real voter fraud, intentional voter fraud and mistakes and were the mistakes personnel or administrative. With these hard facts then a law could be placed before the legislature. At the present there are no such facts.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

Oh we connect the dots alright. But we go from point A to point B. You go from point A to point Z by way of Kalamazoo.

Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

As I recall, al-Qaeda wasn't attempting to vote on 9/11. Did I miss something?

And, as I recall, they also had had papers that allowed them into our country. Did I miss something else?

Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

Who made your point? I sure hope you're not saying I did.

Al Qaeda members got into our country on legitimate papers that were examined. 9/11 happened anyway. Examining papers doesn't guarantee anything...except that the papers themselves have passed inspection.

There are countless people in this country illegally...and countless people who are in this country legally... who have fraudulent driver's licenses (ask any bar or liquor store owner), fraudulent birth certificates, fraudulent social security cards, etc., etc. right now, right here.

If someone wants to vote fraudulently, they'll still be able to. If they're already registered, well...just present the phony photo ID they likely already have (or can easily buy). If they want to register? Buy a phony birth certificate to go with the phony photo ID.

Our freedom is not eroded by a few votes that shouldn't have been cast. And, until Kris Kobach provides us with documentation of a significant problem, we are only talking about a few votes.

(In his report to the House Elections Committee he said that "his office has received 59 reports of alleged irregularities involving at least 221 ballots since 1997 — twice as many as documented by an internal report three years ago". To me that means that, since he's made this a big issue, he's only gotten another 30 reports and an additional 110 potentially fraudulent votes covering a 14 year period. That's 2 reports a year and 8 votes a year that weren't already dealt with. That is NOT what I would call a significant problem...or an "erosion of our freedom". But making it harder for some qualified people to vote? Now that is an erosion of our freedom.)

madameX 5 years ago

"Is it not the philosophy of the government taken into consideration when one is asked for their 'papers'?"

Does a demand for 'papers' not say something about the philosophy of the government doing the asking?

madameX 5 years ago

I was referring to demanding papers to vote, not enter the country, voting being the topic of the letter. However, I don't think your comparison is very apt. Illegal immigration and terrorism are well-established to be problem that the US is facing, voter fraud is not. So IMO, requiring ID to vote, in order to 'solve' a problem that doesn't actually exist, says something negative about the level of trust that Kobach has for the voters of Kansas.

kansanbygrace 5 years ago

Uh, bl'ot, the last time I crossed the border from Mexico, my Kansas Driver's license was not an acceptable ID, but my voter registration, delivered to my domicile by the USPS, WAS. The registration process is that process appropriate to determine the eligibility to vote.
You also mentioned above the "priviledge" (sic) to vote. That, my friend, reflects a misunderstanding. As sovereign of this nation, it is my RIGHT to vote and is not the business of some hireling to interfere.

Scott Drummond 5 years ago

"Never mind that elections are an ancillary duty of the office which exists primarily to facilitate corporate filings."

Hey Gov. I have an idea on where you can cut government waste.

Eliminate the SoS job and let the corporations enforce their own contracts and legal protections. After all, most of us don't own corporations and have no use for the function. Why should I have to pay for government bureaucrats to look after corporate interests?

Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

Well, I actually do own a business (a C Corp, yet) and I certainly don't want to do without the protections offered by the State. You don't either...you just don't realize it.

By the way, I also don't want an inaccurate SoS who makes unsubstantiated claims like Kobach does. The "dead" voter raking his leaves in Wichita? The claims that the tiny figures he presented in the committee hearing had to be as little as only 10% of the problem...with no evidence whatsoever to support that claim? And the terrible oversight job he did as Republican party chairman? Yikes!!

Corey Williams 5 years ago

Why is it that, somehow, Kobach is the first republican to bring it up? If it's such a big problem, why wasn't it brought up before?

Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

Yeah...in the last 60 years we have had exactly one Democrat as SoS. Chris Biggs. Who held the office for less than 10 months.

Before him, Ron Thornburgh held the position for 15 years. You don't think he would have noticed a problem had there been one?

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

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Scott Drummond 5 years ago

Well, there's a long history in this country of white conservative forces denying the vote to various groups in a, vain, attempt to hold them down and maintain a system of white supremacy. A more relevant question is whether this is just another instance.

grandnanny 5 years ago

If there is so much voter fraud in Kansas, why do Republicans keep getting elected? Oops! Maybe there is voter fraud involved.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

Oh wow, Bot! You actually went there!

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

That's also assuming that what fraud there was occurred during voting and not during vote counts.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Less important than buying liquor, medication or cigarettes?

There are reasons for requiring ID in all of the above situations that don't apply to voting. They are irrelevant in this situation.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

What election fraud is that? As soon as Kobach presents evidence that it's happening, and that current measures to prevent it are inadequate, then voter ID might be a way to counter it.

But he's done nothing of the sort. And neither have you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

What he found were 38 instances of "irregularities," not fraudulent voting. And that's out of at least 10 million votes cast in that time period.

Still waiting.

xclusive85 5 years ago

How many cases of voter fraud is enough to do something about? Would 1,000 be enough? Would it take 10,000? Maybe 100,000? Just curious what everyone feels would be enough.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Good question. But the handful out of "irregularities" out of millions of votes that have been thrown up as evidence mean that this is purely an intellectual exercise, not a pressing issue.

Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

First I'd want to know that we were talking about deliberate voter fraud, not assumed fraud (like the guy raking his leaves in Wichita that Koback claimed was a dead voter). Or an inadvertent error. So I want to know how many votes have been found to be deliberately fraudulent in the past. Not irregularities. Deliberately fraudulent votes.

Then I'd want a cost-benefit analysis. Seriously. Kobach's plan is going to cost $$$. I can tell you right now that I have zero interest in stopping 5 deliberately fraudulent votes a year at a cost of $100,000 each.

THEN I will tell you how many fraudulent votes is too many.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"You don't even know what irregularities were found do you? "

Neither do you. And apparently, neither does Kobach. Answer me this-- why has his "investigation" not turned up ANY voter fraud-- only a handful of "irregularities" out of at least 10 million votes cast?

"How much time do you want him to waste to prove this to you?"

I don't know. Maybe more than the fifteen minutes he's put into so far (and that was all spent dictating the press release.) What do you suggest? Or is this just another instance where your ignorance is bliss?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

So now you're comparing the constitutional right to vote with mouse droppings.

Now that's some real gibberish.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

" I have to assume you have no answers..."

None that you like, to be sure. But the simple fact is that there is NO demonstrable voter fraud taking place. If there were, Kobach would have done so already.

But this isn't about facts, or good public policy. This is about Kobach shoving his (and your) ideology down others' throats, with a side order of suppressing voter turnout, because that makes it easier to win elections with mindless demagoguery that folks like you find so appealing.

"Some of us have a day job and can't play on the computer all day and night."

Yes, it is frustrating to be confronted with your inadequacies, but I hope they don't manifest themselves in your day job the same way they do on this forum-- otherwise, you may find that you have plenty of time to waste here.

barlowtl 5 years ago

Depends where you are, in the state where I now live, I was told that my driver's licence with the pic would not suffice unless I went to the trouble to get one that would qualify as valid, (would mean I would show, orig. birth certificate, and any & all marriage licenses, divorce papers (all original) to get a license that would be considered valid. Was also told my passport & military records would not count) In addition, they are talking of closing many of the polling places to save money. Now where do you think the votor suppression starts here, or am I just old enough to remember the poll tax so am more suspicious than most. Last time I voted, after passing the time of day with the poll workers (myfriends & neighbors) for some time was then informed I could not vote unless I had a valid ID. Soooo why do you think they want to put obstacles to your ability to vote? During a national election there is an uptick in voter volume & interest but many are people who are easily discouraged. Our geatest worry should be suppression of vote & it is done more often than we know.

Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

Well, no. You weren't asked for your original birth certificate. You were asked for a copy of your birth certificate.

Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if Americans had to show their ORIGINAL birth certificate for all this stuff? Not a copy, but the original one? The one that, once it's gone, it's gone forever?

Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

Actually, let me correct that. You weren't seriously required to provide your original birth certificate, although I'm sure there are people out there who would say that's what they need, rather than "we need to see a copy of your birth certificate".

Heck, I'm adopted. I have never seen my "original" birth certificate...just a copy of my legal one :-)

Sorry 'bout that.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

"Yaddayaddayadda Democrats bad." "Yaddayaddayadda Republicans good." There. I fixed it for ya Tommy.

Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

Oh, please. You don't have the original copy of your birth certificate, either. This is sooooooooo tiresome.

And if you want to get all your information from Fox News and Glen Beck, go for it. But, like it or not, they are just as biased as those nasty old liberals you berate. Personally, I'd rather get my information from a variety of sources, hear differing points of view, think about what is being said, and try to come to an intelligent conclusion.

(I remember talking to an old high school classmate...very conservative and terrified of the USSR...who shouted at me because I said that I believed the USSR would collapse under it's own economic weight within 18 months. Why did I believe this? Because economic reports I read on the Heritage Foundation website actually made a lot of sense. He said that people like me were going to be the downfall of America. The USSR collapsed 15 months later.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"As has been pointed out, valid identification is required to get a passport, drivers license, buy liquor, cash a check, get a job, etc."

So let me point this out again-- there are reasons for requiring ID in all of the above situations that don't apply to voting. They are irrelevant in this situation.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

For god's sake, when are you going to get the message? WHAT FRAUD???????

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

In the wingnut world, repetition, ad nauseam, is considered a suitable substitute for facts.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

"There are those who would stuff a ballott box, run ringers into a voting booth..." Show me any proof that this has ever happened in this state in the last 60 years.

usnsnp 5 years ago

I is easy to call names. But there was one comment I found interesting about there being more Republicans in Kansas because they are so hard working. Then there is the comment that all Federal, State, and Local government workers are lazy, overpayed and have too many benifits. It must be that all Federal, State and Local government workers are Democrats. I am not against showing a ID to vote, but there has to be rules that make sure that everybody is able to obtain a ID easily with no major hurdles. There has to be a list of what kind of ID are valid. Here is a example, I am retired military, I have a military ID, I have tried to use it in some places and the people asking to see an ID did not know what I was showing them. Is that going to happen when I go to vote.

notajayhawk 5 years ago

"Our new secretary of state has decided that combating voter fraud is the most important use of his time."

That's right - OUR new secretary of state made no secret of the fact that this would be one of his priorities, and he was rather handily elected by the people of Kansas. Deal with it.

"As one who lived through the entire Cold War, I was always of the opinion that we were the ones who did not say, “Your papers, please.”"

As one who isn't much younger than you, I also remember a time when schools didn't have metal detectors on the doors (and neither did other public buildings), when we didn't know whether fatalities from school shootings were up or down from last year (because there weren't any!). I remember when the milkman and the diaper delivery guy had to compete for a parking space at the end of our sidewalk. I remember when a baseball that inadvertently went through a neighbor's window didn't result in a lawsuit. I remember a time when the police might pull over a driver who had one too many and tell them to be careful driving home, and following them to make sure (or driving them home). I remember being able to eat our Halloween candy along the way, since it didn't have to be inspected for foreign objects. I remember when the worst that would happen if someone got a gun on an airplane was you might end up with a slight diversion to the sunny island of Cuba. I remember when we were free to roam outside the carrying distance of my father's summoning whistle, because we knew all the neighbors and they'd relay to us the message that it was time to get home.

Times change. Again, deal with it.

madameX 5 years ago

"That's right - OUR new secretary of state made no secret of the fact that this would be one of his priorities, and he was rather handily elected by the people of Kansas. Deal with it."

Yeah, and it saddens me that the people of Kansas fell for that one.

Times have changed, that is true. But the only stats that have been provided are that there have been something like 50 reports of irregularities since 1998. Which, apart from being miniscule relative to the number of people who have actually voted since 1998, might mean fraud, but might also mean administrative error. So until some proof is provided that times have, in fact, changed in that regard I consider this voter fraud crusade to be a waste of time and resources, and resources are not something we can afford to waste at the moment.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Well, the same can be said about our President, who won his election quite handily, and certainly it was no secret what his agenda would be."

Actually, I'd say what his agenda would turn out to be was quite a well-kept secret.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

You didn't know this. No one "knew" it. But no reasonable person should be surprised that anyone who manages to get themselves in a position to be elected president is going to do much in the way of challenging the status quo.

BTW, I voted for Nader, not Obama. But If I had lived in Missouri, I'd have voted for Obama. Still would. Not because I like much of what he's done. Merely because he's light years better than McCain/Palin would have been.

Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

I would not take the 2010 election as any sort of evidence that Kansas voters were for Kris Kobach because he was going to fight voter fraud and they saw voter fraud as an important issue. After all, the figures are incredibly tiny.

Rather, this was the year of being frightened of "those people". Anyone who played to those fears...you don't want "those people" voting and you know it's "those people" who are going to be committing voter fraud...was going to do well in a Republican state. Anyone who wasn't a Democrat was going to do well.

JustNoticed 5 years ago

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Kendall Simmons 5 years ago

No. I think it's good decent people who are frightened. Who have been deliberately frightened by others for gain. Good decent people who act against their own best interests not for altruistic reasons, but out of fear and anger.

I'm talking about good decent people across the spectrum. Not right or left. Republican or Democrat. Liberal or conservative. Just good decent people who have too much information being thrust at them and no way to separate the wheat from the chaff. So they begin to settle on this or that opinion, then get so much constant reinforcement that there's no room for the "yeah, but..." that should give them pause. That should allow them to see there are exceptions. That it's possible to learn something from people who disagree with you. That simply calling them names and belittling them, even if you can do it anonymously online, isn't the way to go.

Shoot, how do you change someone's mind if all you do is yell insults at them? And how do they change yours if that's all they do? Yet, when people are frightened and angry, they don't stop to think. It's really sad. My first great grandchild is 3 months old today. I want him to grow up in a better world...not one where fear and anger rule. I'm not sure it's gonna happen. Not unless people learn to treat each other with respect again...even when they're anonymous.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

Why do you automatically assume it was about you? Sorry to bust your bubble but neither the world nor these boards revolve around you. That's the attitude of a two year old. This isn't your personal sandbox. Tom. It's a common playground and you don't own the teeter totter. You don't like it, you can take your glove and bat and go home. No one will miss you.

aa469285 5 years ago

Considering it was a reply to his comment, the likelihood is high it was directed towards him. But don't let the obvious stop you from firing off personal attacks at Tom.

billbodiggens 5 years ago

Vertigo, you cannot have an intelligent conversation with a fool. The man/lady said he/she was from a "military family" which means he/she has probably never been in the military. What about his "ilk?" Just a thought from an old Navy Petty Officer.

bunnyhawk 5 years ago

I think this is just great! Clearly, MANY recent elections in Kansas have been high-jinxed by the party in power!! It's time the KS GOP is held accountable for the rampant voting irregularities that have permitted their take-over of both houses of our state legislature and the governor's office!!!!

What other POSSIBLE reason could there be expending our tax dollars at this juncture?

I will be very happy when Mr. Kobach runs the rats out of Topeka and restores government in Kansas to friends of the people..........the Democratic candidates whose campaigns have suffered defeat at the hands of these brazen scoundrels!!!!!

kansanbygrace 5 years ago

I have less problem with presuming people honest until they demonstrate dishonesty, exactly comparable to innocent until proven guilty. Let the registration process determine the eligibility of a citizen to vote, as works about 99.77% effectively at the present. There is more fraud in virtually every segment of political function than voter fraud.

Kris Kobach has had this bee in his bonnet for a while now, and I have no confidence in his competence or his fundamental honesty, because of this ridiculous obsession. This non-issue is a waste of time and money in a time when both are running short.

kansanbygrace 5 years ago

Dear, dear Tom, Would if be easier for you if they had fought against the Russians and the "papers" guys were "Lefties"? Authoritarianism is the issue, and it becomes really, really old when you turn every imaginable issue into an opportunity to do your self-pitying "all you evil LIBERAL/COMMIE" song and dance. You passed hyperbole months ago, now you're just an echo of the pathetic flunk-outs and draft-dodgers you parrot. Give it a rest, find a new schtick, get outdoors for a while. Sheesh.

Scott Morgan 5 years ago

This is the most puzzling subject I've ever been part of. Mr. Haehl is so upset he's going to run against our secretary of state over voting without I.D.


Good grief, can you imagine the perception in other democratic nations? It's also childish to think Kobach is spending his entire elected time on this matter. Childish.

Mr. Haehl, nobody said papers. Just I.D. ROTC and the military frown on (confine to base) service people who forget those. Civilians must show I.D. to get in Ft. Leavenworth nowadays.

but but but that's different

When selling or buying a house, sitting in your living room, at your dining room table, with pictures of wife and kids on the wall, you must show I.D. to the banker.

but but but that's different

What about buying a handgun, or ammo without an I.D.

but but but that's different

When picking up comp tickets for a Chief or Royals game you show I.D.

but but but that's different

Puzzling subject unless you really just hate Kobach. This is really the problem isn't it? Rational thinking has nothing to do with it. Kobach writing legal language to stop illegal immigration just sizzles you doesn't it.

You and others only see what you want, not the harm illegal immigration is doing to our sister border states.

Arizona likes our elected Kansas Secretary of State, sizzle sizzle.

but but but that's different

You as all good citizens should hold your vote precious, your vote. What if you were one of the people who had their ballot canceled by a fraudulent voter?

but but but that's different

How would you feel Mr. Haehl if you took the time educate yourself and then vote only to think somebody voting illegally made your democratic voice silent.

but but but that's different

What if you lived say in a small city with a large conservative college and say the staff in that polling place did not know everybody for 20 years? Would you be for voter I.D. then?

If Republicans supported and paid for a conservative ACORN would you be for I.D. then?

but but but that's different

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

" It's also childish to think Kobach is spending his entire elected time on this matter."

True enough. He has lots of billable hours to rack up in his real job of writing unconstitutional laws and then defending them.

BigPrune 5 years ago

I read Kobach's law was based on an Indiana law that was found consititutional by the Supreme Court, so what's REALLY the beef here people?

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