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Archive for Monday, January 31, 2011

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach tells House Elections Committee voter fraud is a bigger issue than thought

January 31, 2011, 9:57 a.m. Updated January 31, 2011, 12:12 p.m.

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— Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told legislators Monday that election fraud is far more widespread in the state than previously thought, but a critic of his bill on the subject sharpened her attacks over what she sees as its potential to suppress turnout among minorities.

Kobach released a report 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. And he suggested those reports represent perhaps only 10 percent of what’s actually occurred.

“It must be made clear that this report significantly understates the incidence of election fraud in Kansas,” the Republican Kobach told the House Elections Committee during its first hearing on his bill.

The measure would require voters to show photo identification at the polls, and people who register to vote for the first time in Kansas would have to provide proof of their citizenship. The bill also would increase penalties for election crimes and allow the secretary of state’s office to prosecute cases, along with the attorney general’s office and count prosecutors.

Opponents are scheduled to testify Wednesday.

Rep. Ann Mah, of Topeka, the committee’s ranking Democrat, wasn’t impressed with the new numbers from the Republican secretary of state, noting that millions of ballots have been cast since 1997. She suggested his bill would hinder voter registration drives and, after the meeting, said it would suppress many more legitimate votes than fraudulent ones.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s state chapter has criticized the measure, and Mah said it could hurt minority turnout, in particular. Mah, who is white, noted that all of the witnesses testifying for the bill Monday were white and said it has strong support among “nice, middle-class white folks” who don’t worry about suppressing turnout.

“Where are the people of color who support this bill?” she said after the hearing. “To those folks who know their votes are going to get thrown out, it’s a big deal.”

Kobach has repeatedly said his bill won’t suppress turnout and called Mah’s comments “outrageous.”

“Since when do Kansas legislators look at the skin color of people testifying?” he said.

Kobach, a Kansas City-area law professor on leave, already is a national figure for advising city officials and legislators in other states wanting to crack down on illegal immigration. He helped draft a law enacted in Arizona last year, empowering police to question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.

He’s said he wants to give Kansas the toughest laws against election fraud in the nation. Eight states require a photo ID at the polls, and Oklahoma will begin doing so come July 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Kobach made combatting election fraud the key issue in his successful campaign for secretary of state last year, but he faces skepticism that it represents a widespread problem. His latest report was designed to dispel doubts.

The report includes instances in which six non-citizens cast ballots in 2008 or 2009, and Kobach noted that in 2009, the secretary of state’s office discovered that 54 non-citizens were registered to vote. Seward County reported a case of a non-citizen being registered this year, and canceled the registration.

“Although most of these individuals may never vote, the fraud already has occurred,” Seward County Clerk Stacia Long, a Republican, testified.

But Mah said even if Kobach is right and roughly 2,200 ballots cast in Kansas since 1997 were fraudulent, the figure still pales in comparison to the number of votes that won’t be cast or counted if, as she contends, his bill suppresses turnout. She noted that a 1 percent drop in turnout represents more than 8,000 votes in a general election in a non-presidential year.

“You tell me, which is worse?” she said. “The numbers just don’t even line up.”

Mah also said the requirement that people show proof of citizenship when registering for the first time would hinder the efforts of groups that set up registration tables at libraries, grocery stores and other locations, or candidates who register people as they campaign door-to-door.

Kobach acknowledged there will be some changes in how voter registration drives are conducted but doesn’t see the proof-of-citizenship requirement as burdensome. He noted that the bill provides for free non-driver’s ID cards and birth certificates for Kansans who are receiving social services or have low household incomes.

Comments

weeslicket 3 years, 2 months ago

tomatogrower says: Has Kobach proved his citizenship?

that's a really good question. i've commented on this question before in this forum. think about this problem: how can YOU, PROVE that you are a citizen?

how does one prove this fact in the world we live in?

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 2 months ago

I used to live in California and getting an illegal ID was a profitable street corner business there. They practically had signs up advertising it.

If someone is determined to cast an illegal vote, it is hard for me to see how we can stop them with a drivers license check.

I just think Kobach has let his mouth get the better of him. One crazy idea is just leading to a crazier idea and in the end, this is going to cost Kansans hundreds of thousands of dollars and our status among the states is going to continue to decline.

All this for a few dozen illegal votes that statistically are completely meaningless and in most cases were probably mistakes.

Kobach is like a vacuum cleaner salesman with his foot in your door and my answer is, "no, I don't want your stupid product nor do I need a demonstration."

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verity 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't have a problem with voters having some form of ID---in another state I had to present my voter registration card and was surprised when I didn't have to in Kansas. On the other hand, I don't really think the fear of fraud is what this is all about.

One of the two biggest problems I see in our elections is the small number of people who bother to vote. Other countries (Iraq comes to mind) where people are sometimes in actual danger of their lives have a much higher percentage turnout than the U.S. does. We do not have democracy by the majority because so few vote. We have a right/privilege and usually all we have to do is walk or drive a few blocks and yet so many don't bother.

I have an idea to solve the voter fraud problem much more cheaply---I think it's sometimes used in third world countries. Have an ink pad with indelible ink and make everyone who votes stick their finger on it. It'll wear off by the next election. Then we can also poke fun at the people who haven't voted.

By the way, Australia has compulsory voting. How about we pass a law requiring everyone to vote?

Oh, and the second problem I see is voters not educating themselves.

And the real fraud in our elections is misrepresentation and outright lies by the candidates and their backers.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 2 months ago

Kobach is paranoid. He should seek a new job that taxpayers are NOT responsible for paying.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 2 months ago

Has Kobach proved his citizenship? You know a lot of former Nazis escaped and moved to the US after the war. How do we know his parents weren't among these? Is he an anchor baby? How do we know he wasn't born in Germany? He has a copy of his birth certificate? They can be faked you know. We want Wisconsin's governor to show the real copy. Why is it being withheld? These are legitimate questions. I think that Kobach is an illegal from Germany. It think I'll start an email campaign.

This is so entertaining on a boring snow day, don't you think? I mean, I'm too old for the cold, and would probably break a hip sledding. I think it's more fun to start a rumor about Kobach. Who's with me?

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 2 months ago

"rduhrich (anonymous) says… What's Kobach going to do about all the elephants loose on the Turnpike? That situation's getting out of hand!" === I would suggest he round up his unicorn herd, have them spear the elephants to kill them all off. Then, hire 'illegal aliens' to clean up the mess and distribute the meat to the poor.

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unite2revolt 3 years, 2 months ago

The fact that his bill provides for free non-driver IDs is interesting, considering the State currently charges $22.00 a piece, and I think they have be renewed every 7 years. That seems like it might add up, when you think of all the folks out there that need State IDs for things other than voting.

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Jimo 3 years, 2 months ago

Kobach: indeed, I've DOUBLED my estimates from two instances of fraud to four!! Obviously, the Legislature must authorize a police state.

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weeslicket 3 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Koback stated: “Since when do Kansas legislators look at the skin color of people testifying?”

snort. cough. gag. cough. ack. ack. (hairball)

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rtwngr 3 years, 2 months ago

Republicans are good and Democrats are bad. Fraud is bad too. Democrats = Fraud. Makes perfect sense to me.

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seeker_of_truth 3 years, 2 months ago

The biggest fraud existing in Kansas is Koback, even bigger than Brownie.

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zzgoeb 3 years, 2 months ago

mmm...Kobach; is that American Indian? Oh, no, it European. The tribes have voted Kris, and you are off the CONTINENT!!!!

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Randall Uhrich 3 years, 2 months ago

What's Kobach going to do about all the elephants loose on the Turnpike? That situation's getting out of hand!

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irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

has the secretary of state offered any cost figures on implementing his plan? i'm not sure if he is aware we don't have any money for the services we offer now so it might be tough finding more.

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Slowponder 3 years, 2 months ago

I work in my local precinct and I have lived in the neighborhood for 25 years. And I am the newbie in the precinct. The other two people have been in the neighborhood for 38 and 45 years . Collectively, we have over 100 years of experience in the neighborhood. We know everyone on the rolls by sight! How would we be helped by photo ID? Kobach is a waste of time and money.

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Raiden 3 years, 2 months ago

Kobach is the worst sort of liar; the sort who builds his political rationalization on the backs of the disenfranchised while pandering to his neo-Brownshirt fan club. This is probably the tip of the iceberg for Kansas. Now that we've gone from red to crimson there's no telling how bad it will get before Brownback announces his bid for 2012 Presidential race...that's all he cares about....Kansans be damned.

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dabbindan 3 years, 2 months ago

i would bet the majority of those instances of voter fraud involved already registered voters. care to answer that one mr kobach?

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BloodBot 3 years, 2 months ago

Look at all the Ostriches living amongst us!! What does it take to wake up a Lib and help them pull their heads out of their sand holes to see what is going on in the world and on our southern border. This problem is bigger than voting, it's finding out who is entering our country and WHO is voting on our laws and whom we elect. If you love this country you will protect it by closing the borders to extremist terrorists seeking to bring destruction to this country by sneaking in with whomever comes across our border illegally in Arizona, Texas and Cali. GO KOBACH GO!! Only the guilty want to hide their identity and those who want to vote multiple times to elect those who will destroy the Constitution written by a majority of Christians.

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mysterytrain 3 years, 2 months ago

Kobach is interested in getting to Washington - he doesn't care about KS. I hope he never makes it there as his xenophobia is not what real America is about. Methinks he dost protest too much, as the issue rides with current tides and he is using it as a stepping stone to higher office. cait48 has it right.

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pace 3 years, 2 months ago

Now it is prove your citizenship, how? That band of brothers who are formulating this law also don't accept birth certificates as proof. What do we d?. Ask for papers from a committee, then show the papers to the authorities when we want to exercise our rights, vote, own property?

This law is not about voter fraud,

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 2 months ago

One is a for sure. Scott Rothschild has great job security with Brownback and crew in power.....keeping the far-left loons in Lawrence whipped up into a nice, brown, creamy stink-to-high-heaven-froth.....what did a lefty loon call it "santorum".

May god bless.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

Just wanted to let y'all know, it's been a grey and dreary day, waiting for the snow to move in. Thank you for giving me such an entertaining time as I've sat here pretty much housebound. Some of you have given me quite the laughs so far. Between the circular logic and the witty repartee I've had a good time gad flying around. Yes, this is a serious subject, but even Ben Franklin wasn't averse to the occasional humorous quip. I honestly don't see any threat from Kobach. He's a two bit politician seizing his 15 minutes of fame. He might be able to ram this through the Kansas legislature but I have trust that the US Supreme Court will slap him back to the swamp he crawled out of. Every piece of legislation he's crafted so far on immigration is under SCOTUS review. In the meantime, he's just going to force the state to spend money it doesn't have to defend it. Maybe, just maybe, there are enough actual fiscal conservatives in the statehouse to put the brakes on him. But then there's this strange "Keeping up with the Jones's" mentality there. Y'know we just can't have Arizona or Oklahoma or Texas out conservative us with their crazy legislation. Never mind that those states have even bigger deficits than we do.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 2 months ago

If this bill passes, I will help organize a group to make sure that anyone who will have problems affording their birth certificate and a KS ID get what they need. And I will do the same for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. Kobach isn't going to cage any votes in this state.

And when I vote I will say "Sieg Heil Kobach", as I present my id. My apologies in advance to the poll workers who probably are insulted by this whole issue, since Kobach is accusing them of not doing their job.

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Scott Morgan 3 years, 2 months ago

How many illegal votes were not caught?

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deec 3 years, 2 months ago

Well Kobach lied about the dead guy in Wichita, for starters.

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ophiuchus 3 years, 2 months ago

One day, a big snow is gonna come and bury all the scum oh so deep.

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seeker_of_truth 3 years, 2 months ago

Biggest problem we have is candidate fraud. Face it, both Brownie and Koback are as fraudulent as they come as far as being honest.

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camper 3 years, 2 months ago

At best, and if you take him at his word, the voter irregularities (not even going as far as fraud, another leap of assumption) one would wonder how the miniscule #'s have even become an issue. This is a case of a politician who cannot view things in scale. You gotta go after the bigger fish to frie. Voter fraud is not even a minnow or a tadpole.

In my experience, one should not encourage those who cannot see things in scale. They are micromanagers and are harmful to all organizations, even corporations. They cannot see the forest for the trees.

At worst, Kobach has another agenda.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 2 months ago

Why did ACORN change it's name to COI (Community Organizations International)?

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eaglar 3 years, 2 months ago

I believe the issue may not be voter fraud, but rather registration fraud, which rarely, if ever turns into voter fraud. It's a non-issue and the Sectretary of State should get busy with other business. He's wasting my dime.

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jstthefacts 3 years, 2 months ago

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

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Alyosha 3 years, 2 months ago

I agree, as one commenter put it: we should be teaching other states how to have fair and valid elections, since we have so very, very little actual cases of voting fraud.

Given that there is no real problem, Kobach's policy changes likely have another goal. And that goal is to keep the number of people he thinks will vote for Democrats to find it more difficult to vote.

Kansans, you are witnessing a government official pulling the wool over your eyes. A classic bait and switch.

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deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 2 months ago

"BloodBot (anonymous) replies… Your comment did bring a chuckle, however, the fact is you live in a small liberal college town in eastern Kansas. The rest of the state is made up of hardworking conservative Americans who respect the constitution and do not blame the US for all the ills of the world. Thus, you have a majority of people in office who agree with their belief system."

Yawn, did you get your take from FoxNews? When I drive west, in addition to the prosperous farms and ranches, I see more trailer homes and beater trucks. Didn't they get your memo?

Now I'm mad, I'm a hardworking liberal who has to pay taxes to support the conservative deadbeats out west.

And if you really respected the U.S. Constitution, you'd use capital C.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 2 months ago

Self-serving libs amply demonstrate they need, condone and welcome any illegal vote they can scrounge up. What has happened to the Democratic Party? Hijacked by Soros and the far-left and the left-wing crooks in the elite establishment, that's what. And the corrupt media aids and abets the rabidly criminal progressive movement. Does that sufficiently sum things up?

May god bless.

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Keith 3 years, 2 months ago

It's obvious we have rampant voter fraud in Kansas, how else do you explain the overwhelming republican presence in both chambers of the legislature and the governors office. Isn't that the conclusion we should reach from Kobach's premise?

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overthemoon 3 years, 2 months ago

If you're interested in the bio of Kobach and his ardent adherence to radical immigration reform, this is a good read. He has been closely involved with FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization that has been on record as fighting to preserve the absolute majority for people of Anglo/European descent. While that sort of language has been scrubbed from current FAIR websites, that mission is still the underpinning of all efforts from FAIR and its affiliates to 'fix' voter fraud, stop all immigration (from anywhere) in the US, and to raise money for like minded candidates.

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/publications/when-mr-kobach-comes-to-town/the-man-a-biography-of-kris-kobach

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Defender 3 years, 2 months ago

BloodBot, provide prove of voter fraud in Kansas. If you cannot, and do not respond to this post, then you are a LIAR. Period.

Now prove it, liar.

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irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

so that's how kobach got electe, voter fraud?

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Bob Forer 3 years, 2 months ago

221 possibly questionable ballots in 13 years. Thats an average of 17 a year. Can someone please explain to me where the problem is that requires passing a new and potentially burdensome law.

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deec 3 years, 2 months ago

Will the local bouncers and bartenders teach classes in recognizing fake i.d.'s to the ladies who staff the polls?

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seeker_of_truth 3 years, 2 months ago

Instead of potential irregularities, how about actual, charged irregularities.

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deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 2 months ago

Crack down on election fraud?

Is that why we elect "small govt conservatives" who do the oppposite once in office?

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deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 2 months ago

"BloodBot (anonymous) says… I support Mr. Kocach's attempts to keep elections fair. I don't understand people or organizations that want to hide their identities, it's not like we are asking them to tell who they voted for. Our Freedom is too important for it to be stolen from us."

It sounds like the only Freedom you care about is freedom from a Democratic government.

"This reminds me of Harry Ried in Nevada had his friends at SEIU maintain the Voting machines where his name was the default name on the electronic ballot. This is proof enough of issue with the voting system."

That's not proof. That's a lie that gets retold in the rightwing circle jerk, err, echo chamber. And what does that have to do with Kansas? Your lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution is noted.

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autie 3 years, 2 months ago

crack down on election fraud? Maybe we can get a rider on this bill to crack down on prarie squid attacks...and losing one sock in the dryer,...you know, important stuff. Let's invent a new enemy of the people.

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camper 3 years, 2 months ago

"An internal memo from the secretary of state's office in 2008 listed 30 reports of alleged irregularities dating to 1998."

Wow, this is about 2 per year. Two key words "alleged" and "irregularities". Alleged implies that it is possible, and irregularity does not equate fraud. I can imagine that some of the irregularites were examples of people with common names ie John Smith, John Smith Jr. etc. Or people who moved recently and did not know where their booth was.

If one wanted to look for fraud, you could look to the campaign offices where robo calls were advising people to vote.....on the wrong day. Nice.

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deec 3 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if he parade out more "dead" voters like that poor guy in Wichita?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

What's the point? The only thing he can say is that voter fraud isn't a problem. Otherwise, he's just lying.

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Kontum1972 3 years, 2 months ago

during the last election i went to vote....so when i provided my kansas drivers liscense..that wasnt good enough for them, so i pulled out my DoD card and showed that too them,,that still wasnt enough so i pulled out my birth certificate.....and i was hoping they wouldnt want a fecal smear....but i finally got to vote..and they gave me a cookie.....what a crock...!

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SDTPlant 3 years, 2 months ago

Bloodbot,

You should be more concerned about the validity and reason in your statement rather than the spelling of KK's name. We have fair and balanced elections. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." One and done for this klown.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 2 months ago

The economy is burning and Kobach and our legislature is playing violins.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 2 months ago

".....figures about potential election irregularities in Kansas over the past decade." === this is a strange linguistic construction. Potential irregularities over the past decade? Perhaps he did find the unicorn herd down by the Turnpike after all!

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BloodBot 3 years, 2 months ago

I support Mr. Kocach's attempts to keep elections fair. I don't understand people or organizations that want to hide their identities, it's not like we are asking them to tell who they voted for. Our Freedom is too important for it to be stolen from us. This reminds me of Harry Ried in Nevada had his friends at SEIU maintain the Voting machines where his name was the default name on the electronic ballot. This is proof enough of issue with the voting system.

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thatonedude 3 years, 2 months ago

30 instances in ten years, for an entire state. We shouldn't be changing what we do, we should be writing the guidebook for other states!

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Number_1_Grandma 3 years, 2 months ago

Kobach should be appearing on Kansas Secretary of State fraud charges....

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