Archive for Thursday, May 12, 2011

Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach won’t end push to get voter ID requirements in place by 2012

May 12, 2011


— Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Thursday that he's not giving up on having a proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters in place ahead of next year's elections, despite the state Senate's rejection of the idea.

State law already says that people who are registering to vote for the first time in Kansas will have to provide a birth certificate, passport, or other proof of U.S. citizenship to election officials. The rule was enacted this year at Kobach's urging but doesn't take effect until January 2013, a year later than he wanted.

The same law also will require voters to show photo identification at the polls, starting next year. Kobach wanted the proof-of-citizenship requirement to take effect at the same time and authority for his office to file and prosecute election fraud cases in state courts. But senators had insisted on the later start date for the proof-of-citizenship requirement and had removed the new prosecutorial power for Kobach's office before the legislation passed.

The Republican secretary of state praised the compromise version of the new law as a historic step toward combatting election fraud and as a model for other states. But he also didn't stop pushing for the stronger version, and on Wednesday, the Senate rejected a tougher bill on a 23-15 vote.

"We didn't get it, but I think there will be an opportunity to get it next year," Kobach told The Associated Press during an interview. "We've got to get this change done sooner rather than later."

During Wednesday's debate, some Kobach critics renewed longstanding arguments that election fraud is nowhere near as serious a problem as Kobach says it is, while others resented his efforts to revise a law that had strong bipartisan support.

"You don't unravel the deal after it's finished," said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat. "And he needs to learn that."

Opponents of Kobach's proposals contend the photo ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements will suppress turnout and prevent some Kansans from registering to vote — arguments Kobach strongly disputes.

To deal with such concerns, senators insisted on delaying the proof-of-citizenship requirement. They argued the delay would give the state time to educate prospective voters. It also was designed to allow the state to put in place a new record scanning system, so it could comply with federal requirements to issue secure driver's licenses, then provide copies of citizenship documents electronically to election officials.

But Kobach said Thursday that Kansas typically sees a wave of voter registrations in the months ahead of a presidential election. He said federal laws designed to prevent citizens from being disenfranchised also make it difficult for states to remove people from the rolls even if they weren't eligible to register.

Kobach said a check of voter registration rolls this year against driver's license records showed that 67 non-citizens with licenses were registered. The state has about 1.7 million registered voters.

"If we don't have this protection in place when the wave hits, we will see hundreds more aliens on the voter rolls," he said.

Also, to bolster arguments that election fraud is a serious problem, Kobach released a study in January that said his office had received 59 reports of alleged irregularities involving at least 221 ballots since 1997.

But only a handful of cases have been prosecuted. Some allegations listed by Kobach were based on vague reports of potential wrongdoing, and most hadn't been thoroughly investigated. Only a few involved allegations that non-citizens voted.

Kobach critics contend many perceived irregularities result from mistakes by prospective voters and even election officials themselves, not deliberate fraud. Last year, before Kobach was elected, the secretary of state's office said the problem of non-citizens registering could be solved with better training at driver's licenses bureaus, where people are allowed to register to vote.

And Sen. Jean Schodorf, a Wichita Republican, said: "There is a not a problem in this state of voter fraud."

Kobach also attributed the defeat of the bill Wednesday to the provisions giving his office prosecutorial power, though he and his allies noted that other agencies have similar power. Opponents of the idea question whether it's necessary.

But the secretary of said, despite Wednesday's vote, he's pleased with work this year on election issues.

"I think some were making a bigger deal about this than it is," he said of the Senate' rejection of the latest bill.

The law enacted this year was contained in HB 2067. The measure revising that law is House Sub for SB 129.


overthemoon 7 years, 1 month ago

Good. Maybe we can get him recalled before then.

suggestionbox 7 years, 1 month ago

What a waste of time and energy. Yes! Recall him!

MyName 7 years, 1 month ago

Must disenfranchise more Dems before the next election! Darn you Senate and your "rules"! Maybe we should dissolve the imperial Senate and let regional governors have direct control. Sounds like the only fair solution.

beatrice 7 years, 1 month ago

Voting is a right. Show us your papers before you practice your rights -- oh, and this time we mean your right to free speech and your right to assemble. Show us your papers!

Kirk Larson 7 years, 1 month ago

So he wants to speed up implementation of his stupid law, no doubt to fulfill the republican plot to prevent the President's re-election by any means necessary. Of course getting everything in place faster will cost more, but we're not concerned about budget deficits now are we...are we?

xclusive85 7 years, 1 month ago

What? It is all about the presidential election? Kansas has 6 electoral votes, and a republican will get them all. This bill won't affect the presidential election at all.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

You're right. This has absolutely nothing to do with elections or voter fraud. This is about two things.

The most important thing is keeping Kobach in the headlines. He got 90% of what he said he wanted in the bill that was passed. But the 10% he didn't get is all the opening he needs to Drama Queen his way to more media fanfare over a measure that was pointless and idiotic to begin with. For a lowlife shill like Kobach, any publicity is good publicity.

The secondary point is mere distraction. Get the sheeple all worked up about the Communist Fascist Jihadist Mexicans stealing elections, and they won't notice when Kobach does the bidding of the Koch brothers, et al, and herds them into the metaphorical (and not-so-metaphorical) slaughterhouse.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree Kansas won't have much impact on the outcome of the election, but the goal of this as with the union busting and similar vote disenfranchisement going on in other states is to make this kind of thing ubiquitous so it won't be challenged.

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

67 registrations - registrations, not actual votes. I bet there wouldn't be any actual votes. And 67 out of 1.7 million. That's, what .0039% or so? Yeah, I can clearly see why this is such and urgent problem.

Charlie Bannister 7 years, 1 month ago

Secretary of State Kobach is doing exactly the right thing. We need an iron clad system of prevention to insure non citizens do not vote. Photo ID's are a good beginning. Why anyone would object to providing proof of citizenship is beyond me. They should be happy to do so. Good work and effort by Mr. Kobach.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"We need an iron clad system of prevention to insure non citizens do not vote."

Given that none do, I'd say we already had one. Kobach successfully fixed what wasn't broke.

But he has accomplished one thing-- he's convinced gullible folks like you that he's actually doing something useful, while in fact all he's done is turn the office of Sec. of State into the Sec. of Demagoguery and Promoter General of Hysterical Xenophobia.

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

I think you should also provide proof that you're not an outer space alien when you vote. We haven't had a problem with it in the past, but you never know when the aliens are going to stuff our ballot boxes with illegal votes. So, everyone must go in and leave a cheek swab DNA sample to make sure they are human and allow 6-8 weeks of time to analyze the results. What's to hide? If you're human, you should have no problem providing proof of such.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

Kobach is seriously twisted. He needs urgent psychiatric intervention.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

Ah, the Kinks.

Interesting version. I heard plenty of Dave Davies's lead guitar, but where was he?

foppa 7 years, 1 month ago

Thank you, Kobach for finally addressing a non-issue. What a guy!

mloburgio 7 years, 1 month ago

at least the voters in missouri get to vote on their vote supression id bill. intead of kansans getting it shoved down out throats.

Missouri voters will decide next year whether future voters could be required to show photo identification at the polls and whether voting could be allowed before Election Day.

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