Archive for Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Absentee voting concerns raised under new law

A man votes at New York Elementary School in this 2011 file photo. An election law written by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, which requires photo ID to vote, is raising concerns about what that means for absentee voting.

A man votes at New York Elementary School in this 2011 file photo. An election law written by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, which requires photo ID to vote, is raising concerns about what that means for absentee voting.

January 3, 2012


— An election law written by Secretary of State Kris Kobach that requires photo identification to vote and other restrictions is raising new concerns about absentee voting.

Under the law, county election officials must decide whether the signature on a request for an advance ballot matches the person’s previous signature that could be on a voter registration form or another type of identification.

If it doesn’t, the election official must make an effort to contact that person to give them another attempt at signing the application.

But Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, said the law and its accompanying rules and regulations failed to prescribe how much of an effort the county election official must make to track down the potential voter and clear up the dispute.

“This gives a lot of leeway to the election officer,” Trimmer said.

He said many times, people who request advance ballots will be difficult to reach because they requested an advance ballot knowing they would be elsewhere around the time of the election.

Legislators said there could be good reasons that a person’s signature requesting an advance ballot looks different from a previous signature. The person’s ability to sign their name could be affected by age or illness, they said.

But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who pushed for the new law, said he believed Kansas’ county election officers would make a good faith effort to ensure those who are eligible to vote will receive an advance ballot.

Rep. Valdenia Winn, D-Kansas City, however, wasn’t assured. “My level of discomfort is getting higher and higher,” Winn said.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said his office sometimes receives signatures on advance ballot applications that don’t look the same, and he contacts the applicant.

He said it is usually a situation where a husband signs for a wife or vice versa and once they are contacted they make the necessary correction, he said.

Shew said in his discussions with other election officials he was confident they will “go above and beyond” to ensure that no one who is eligible to vote is denied the opportunity cast a ballot.

But, he said, that during presidential elections, which have the heaviest voter turnout, “your ability to follow up may be affected by how much is on your plate at that moment.”

In 2010, nearly 30 percent of all votes cast statewide, including 18 percent in Douglas County, were in advance, according to the secretary of state’s office. In 2008, the last presidential election, that percentage was 36.8 percent statewide, or 464,822 votes, and 32.7 percent in Douglas County, or 18,207 votes.

Kansas is among a handful of states that have approved laws requiring photo identification to vote and other requirements. But Kobach said Kansas has done more than any other state “to close loopholes on advanced voting.”

Last month, the U.S. Justice Department rejected South Carolina’s law requiring voters to show ID at the polls, and a similar law in Texas is under review. The Justice Department said the South Carolina law could suppress the voting rights of minorities.

— Statehouse reporter Scott Rothschild can be reached at 785-423-0668.


ljwhirled 6 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if they'll make as much of an effort to contact "Yolanda Brown" as they will to contact "Jane Jorgenson".

Just another example of the way this bill is designed to disenfranchise minority voters.

Jayhawkers should be ashamed of this behavior. Our forefathers fought and died to keep black men and women free. To disenfranchise minorities again is a slap in the face to all of the men and women who fought slavery and segregation.

Jeff Zamrzla 6 years, 3 months ago

In the famous words of Cheech and Chong; if it looks, smells and tastes like dog pu, it is dog pu. Seems you've stepped in it.

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow man! I like the way you used the corn for texture, man...

ivalueamerica 6 years, 3 months ago

the facts have clearly shown that voter ID laws effect both low income people, especially low income minorities and the elderly.

You go ahead and believe what you want to be true and spin it however you want.

In the meanwhile, I will fight tooth and nail to keep Americans from being disenfranchised.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 3 months ago

What else wuld expect from a facist ZRepublican who would do anhything, stretch any rule or fabricate any goblin to prevent certain segments of society (Democrats) from voting for a candidate that might just be the best for the job. Kobach is the front runner for Fraudulant in Chief in Kansas.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm going to hire 10000 illegal immigrants to cast fraudulent absentee ballots because I firmly believe that our state will be much better off if Republican candidates win by a slightly smaller margin than they would otherwise.

OOH, the evil of non-existence voter fraud must be stamped out once and for all!!!!

gr 6 years, 3 months ago

bozo, how much voter fraud is going on? Could you give us the numbers? Numbers which can be verified?

ljwhirled 6 years, 3 months ago

Basically none. A couple of dozen potential problems in each election.

In solving the "problem" Kobach is going to disenfranchise hundreds (or thousands?) of voters.

Not all will be turned away at the polls. Many, many will drive by, think about voting and then think "oh, crap, I forgot my ID". Then they will go about their day and simply forget to vote later.

An overwhelming majority of these will be poor, elderly and/or minorities.

The goal of this law is not to stop voter fraud, the goal is to disenfranchise potential democratic voters.

Brock Masters 6 years, 3 months ago

Many, many will drive by, think about voting and then think "oh, crap, I forgot my ID". Then they will go about their day and simply forget to vote later.

So you're saying that many many people are driving without their license?

pace 6 years, 3 months ago

If legitimate voters wish to vote in advance, they should be able to. What a anti-voting machine Kobach is, describing denying advance voting as closing a loop hole. My drivers license name does not match my voter's registration name, my passport does match. Can I use my passport as a photo ID?

Shelley Bock 6 years, 3 months ago

One would think that your passport would be sufficient, but I don't know. I can't think of anything more certain to make you an American citizen, but since Kobach is for a smaller federal government, that makes it suspect. Maybe it was granted you as a courtesy to get you out of a bad spot overseas.

On the other hand, I suspect that if it's from the Republic of Moldova, Kobach would personally deliver your rejection notice. You'd make his day.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

I know of someone who's clipped the tag off of their mattress (They were either really tan or a Mexican.) This has to be indicative of rampant mattress fraud. When will Kobach go after all these millions of tag jerkers? This is a travesty that has gone on much too long. The sanctity of Posturpedia is at stake.

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

"Posturpedia" sounds kind of deviant...

Scott Morgan 6 years, 3 months ago

Depend on who you talk with. Kobach is very very well liked here in Kansas, and nationally.

Absentee voting is different, very easy to check on voter fraud.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 3 months ago

Just think of all the freedoms we have lost over the last 25 years, and some around here are belching proving your a valid voter is one which sticks in the mouth.

You can lose your drivers license if you don't buckle up. Just think about a mild public safety concern has turned into jail time, insurance rate boosts, increased vehicle costs, and yes mi amigos if you lean this direction an opportunity for the law to pull you over for no reason.

Google seat belt abuse to verify. Also note air bags do a better job than the restraints.

You can lose your home if you don't shovel snow to precise dimensions. Make home improvements? Want to go fishing or just sit by the river at 2 A.M. with police protection. Not here. How about planting or cutting a tree on your property? Blow off a Black Cat firework? Enjoy a cigar? Check hunting restrictions lately, or the price of hunting? Want to keep an old junker car for emergency use? Enjoy free television? Burn your lawn leaves? Enjoy a beer on your sidewalk? Wilderness camp by the lake? Park on the lawn? Have the kids play cops and robbers with toy guns? Put up a sign? Hang clothes to dry? Build a bonfire? Paint the curb? Walk your dog without a leash? Grow your lawn the way you wish?

None of the above mentioned lost freedoms effect me, with the exception of watching freedoms disappear.

Focus on the nutty stuff folks, the real freedoms are going fast.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

But these women can't produce a proper ID, no matter when it's required.

Why not just admit that the only goal is to reduce voter turnout?

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

Seems a bit ironic Kobach's e-mail address has "sos" in it twice. Could it be a cry for help?

Scott Morgan 6 years, 3 months ago

Vertigo, legal voting is not a right being taken away. Voting in an election where I know the thing is not rigged makes me happy.

I am not one who laughs at the joke about Chicago voters, or vote and vote often today.

Absentee voters can be traced if we wish. I assume my vote can be checked, doesn't bother me.

Linda Endicott 6 years, 3 months ago

The way you vote is private...sure, they ask if you're registered, ask for ID, and you apparently pass through all get your ballot...nowhere on any ballot I've ever done do they ask for your signature or any other means of far as the ballot itself goes, you're anonymous...

So, if they discover later that your registration and/or your ID weren't valid, and you shouldn't have been allowed to vote at all...

How are they going to tell which votes were yours?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 3 months ago

The hysterical whiners have been busy here.

Getaroom 6 years, 3 months ago

It is true, as is represented by this snappy post, one liner whiners are not extinct as once believed. Whine on snappy doodler.

Fossick 6 years, 3 months ago

Busy, sure, but it doesn't take any time, since it's all copy and paste from the last 20 "concerns raised" articles.

But here's the big question: according to Google, LJ World has more than 2500 "Concerns raised" pages, but fewer than 900 about "Raising concerns"

My concern is being raised is that they need to balance out their euphemisms when titling articles that are not really about anything other than that some person or group doesn't like something in a vague way.

booyalab 6 years, 3 months ago

Au contraire, Rep. Valdenia Winn, D-Kansas City was very specific about her discomfort level going higher and higher. Our politicians are uncomfortable! Sound the alarm! But maybe what this really needs is a good old fashioned "what would be more likely?" test. So what is more likely, a politician feels uncomfortable because one hypothetical person in a million might be too inconvenienced to vote because they couldn't possibly apply for their ID online (yes you can do that) AND fill out an absentee ballot. Or a politician feels uncomfortable because their important voting bloc of criminals and illegal immigrants might not be able to vote for them.

Brock Masters 6 years, 3 months ago

"He said it is usually a situation where a husband signs for a wife or vice versa and once they are contacted they make the necessary correction, he said."

Signing someone elses application for an absentee ballot? Isn't this fraud?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

This probably happens on a small percentage of absentee ballots, and on an even smaller percentage, it may be against the will of the nominal voter.

But as with the voter ID issue as a whole, why should the cure be worse than the disease? Is it worth disenfranchising thousands of voters merely to eliminate a handful of possibly illegitimate votes that are very unlikely to have a decisive effect on the outcome of the election?

Brock Masters 6 years, 3 months ago

Any data to back up your contention that thousands of voters will be disenfranchised?

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

Well, we'd need some sort of process in place to detect and measure that - isn't that what the voter fraud advocates say?

They say, there's plenty of voter fraud, we just can't identify it.

Bozo says there's plenty of disenfranchisement, we just can't identify it.

Same coin - 2 sides.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

Also, the fraud folks say even one fraudulent vote is too many.

So then wouldn't even one disenfranchised voter be too many?

Linda Endicott 6 years, 3 months ago

How do you know that some of the votes for Kobach weren't fraudulent?

Linda Endicott 6 years, 3 months ago

That wouldn't be good enough for Kobach, so it's not good enough for me...

Try again...

Interesting, isn't it, that he didn't work on getting voting laws changed until after HE was elected? (and yeah, you can work towards changing legislation even if you're not an elected official...)

mloburgio 6 years, 3 months ago

Fraudulent vote Kobach can't see forest for the trees in hunt to stamp out voter fraud

Funny how Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is worried about voter fraud if the U.S. has some kind of national popular vote for its president but doesn't regard it as fraud when someone who falls short of a majority of the popular vote is nonetheless elected to the presidency.

Kobach and five other Republican secretaries of state earlier this month joined Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in warning against the national popular vote movement. This is an effort by states to agree to pledge all their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote nationally, even if another candidate wins the majority in their states.

tolawdjk 6 years, 3 months ago

If a signature is good enough for absentee, why isn't a signature good enough for the ballot box?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

Yep, and by making voting such a hassle, you decrease voter turnout-- the whole point of the law.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

All voters should be also required to whistle "dixie" before casting their ballot.

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

Come on bozo, you know darn well the song to whistle is "Over the Rainbow". You're not trying to disenfranchise Phoenixman are you?

Tristan Moody 6 years, 3 months ago

Who exactly should I ask? Do you have a name and phone or email? Also, where can I find this book full of tricks? I might find it useful in the future.

Sunny Parker 6 years, 3 months ago

You have to show id at the doctors office, to apply for a marriage license, to purchase alcohol, drink in a bar, start a new job, etc....but you don't think it is necessary to show id when voting?

gatekeeper 6 years, 3 months ago

Hmmm, I don't show ID at the doctor's office. Haven't shown ID for alcohol or at a bar for over 15 years.

When I registered to vote years ago, that should have been it. Been going to the same polling place for years. Why should I have to show ID when I have a vaild voter registration card?

My grandmother was a perfect example of someone who would have been screwed if she was still alive. Born on the farm. No birth certificate. Wasn't driving past the age of 75, so she had no license. Yep, that woman born and raised that lived in KS her entire life would be denied the right to vote.

beatrice 6 years, 3 months ago

That the ID law wouldn't apply to absentee voting has been one of the arguments against it all along. This isn't new, and if it is then people aren't paying attention.

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

Yet another example of the deflection technique noted by vertigo above.

Scott Tichenor 6 years, 3 months ago

How do we know Kobach is a citizen of the United States? Who here has seen his birth certificate? Why should we assume he's in this country legally? He might be a member of the Taliban. I think there needs to be an investigation into this, seriously. Why not? And the governor for that matter.

Fossick 6 years, 3 months ago

You're right. You should push for a law that requires all candidates should have to show their birth certificates in order to register to be on the ballot.

Or is that racist, too?

courtsider 6 years, 3 months ago

No voter fraud in Kansas anywhere, and we clog up the legislature and airwaves with this nonsense. I have gone to vote for over 30 years together with my friend and neighbor. A liberal "woman in authority" before her retirement and a very well prepared "student" with respect to politics. The only problem we have is that she has gotten frail, needs support to walk stairs, and has a hard time breathing when we walk anyplace for more than grocery shopping. To make the absentee ballot process more difficult is a travesty. BTW, we are both white and object strongly to these unnecessary changes.

Sparko 6 years, 3 months ago

Republicans know they can't win the battle of ideas. So they fix they vote. This is designed to hurt the poor, the young adults and the elderly. Like everywhere else, this law was a response to rising democratic constituencies--there was no fraud to speak of. This law violates the Voting Rights Act and should be suspended. Only dictators fear democracy--and you see this everywhere that the GOP wrested control in 2010. Thank the Koch Brothers and their cabal of enablers here.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 3 months ago

hahahahahah, moot point, we Publicans are going to have plenty of new ideas fixing the lib power grab.

Just read where Dems are fleeing the party at record pace.

If I hear the Koch Brothers one more time, good grief to you libs think the family hides under your bed? We in Kansas are lucky to have the Kochs. BTW.........what are the dems ideas on replacing Boeing jobs? Green power? Ole Rev. Jesse still selling that snake oil???

Armstrong 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm jut curious if any of the frequent posters read opinion posts from other papers. It is interesting to see how much of a 180 Lawrence is from the rest of Kansas.

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't believe I qualify as a "frequent poster", however I do read several other Kansas newspapers online. I see similar bickering in like proportions whether in the Salina Journal, Topeka Capital Journal, KC Star or Wichita Eagle. There may be a somewhat higher proportion of conservative commenters, but for the most part I would not considerate it significantly disproportionate to the right.

Armstrong 6 years, 3 months ago

That's what I'm talking about . Must be a Lawrence townie thing I guess

Scott Morgan 6 years, 3 months ago, Douglas and Wyandotte County are the only counties voting for Obama last election. Very similar if you consider the significant tax dollar support needed to keep both counties going.

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

wissmo, I understand that DG and Wyandotte counties are more "D" in nature, but you can't say that about Saline or Sedgwick. Please elaborate on the per capita tax dollar support differential you perceive between DG/WY and the rest of the state.

Armstrong: I'm not sure what part of my comment led to your observation "That's what I'm talking about. Must be a Lawrence townie thing". You asked whether anyone else reads opinion posts from other papers. I merely repsonded affirmatively, and indicated I don't perceive it as much of a "180" as you apparently do.

Take a look at any one of those online papers and you'll see the usual assortment of comments ranging from "blame it all on W/teabaggers" to "The Community Organizer/Socialist/Campaigner in Chief/Anointed One/Obominator" type. As I indicated, my experience is that there are usually somewhat more conservative commenters than liberal on those websites, but not a disproportionate amount, i.e. "180" degree difference as compared to the LJW. Not sure what makes that observation a "Lawrence townie thing".

I'ved lived in Wichita, KC, Lawrence, Hays, Garden City, Colby and Topeka (in addition to several smaller towns including Greensburg...) during my 41 years in Kansas so I believe I have a pretty good sense for the political demographics in this state.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes, Dougie and Wyandotte were the only counties in the state voting for Obama.

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

Do you just like to say the same things over & over again? I'm well aware the DG & WY voted for Obama last time. Got it. 10-4. Message received loud and clear.

Let me know if you have any additional points you want to make. What you've stated doesn't change anything I've said. My perception of the way others comment in other online publications is what it is. You don't have to like it or agree with it, but saying the same thing over & over doesn't add anything substantive.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 3 months ago

Actually the concept Douglas County votes against the best interest of the rest of the state is the news.

This wins no friends, and in fact starting to hurt KU a bit with in state students.

The energy plant proposed and will be built in Western Kansas is a great example of Lawrence folks telling others do as we say, not as we do. Funny thing, one of the first things one sees in approaching Lawrence is a coal fired electric plants' emission cloud.

At least in my case relatives and friends in Missouri feel Lawrence/KU goes against the grain culturally.

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

I disagree that DG votes against the "best interests" of Kansas. We don't need to engage in "group think". I could just as easily say that all the other counties favoring candidates like McCain/Palin and Sam the Sham are voting against their best interests. Nevertheless, given it wasn't enough to carry the state for Obama, what difference did it make? How did those DG/WY votes negatively impact the best interests of Kansas?

The fact you indicate having both relatives and friends in Missouri goes against the grain culturally for many Lawrencians. Perhaps you would be more comfortable there where you could be surrounded by others that behave and peceive the world just like you.

Katara 6 years, 3 months ago

He's just getting prepared for when they require a DNA sample and a drug screen before voting.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.