Editorial: Faulty ‘fix’

State officials were right to reject a proposed voter registration fix that would have created a whole new set of problems.

July 17, 2013


Congratulations to the State Rules and Regulations Board for turning down Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s proposed Band-Aid for a gaping wound in the state’s voter registration system.

The plan considered on Tuesday would have allowed would-be voters whose registrations are being held “in suspense” at the Kansas Division of Vehicles to cast provisional ballots, after which they would have about a week to prove their citizenship so their votes would count. The proposal would have done almost nothing to address the huge backlog of voter registration documents lingering at the vehicle department and was described by one board member as “disingenuous at best.”

Kobach’s proposal was intended to mitigate the fact that 12,000 voter registration documents filed with the vehicles division are being held up until proof-of-citizenship documents are provided.

As of Monday, that included 434 registration forms for people living in Douglas County. Local election officials say a number of people who have been contacted to provide proof of citizenship say they presented that proof at the driver’s license office. Given the current state of affairs, it seems possible that some of these voters are having to prove their citizenship not once, but twice, in order to complete their registration. Many may simply assume their registration is complete until they go to the polls and find out otherwise.

Kobach’s plan would have created a huge mess during any election with a sizable voter turnout. County election officials may have been faced with trying to confirm hundreds of provisional ballots in the short time between the election and the vote canvass. As members of the Rules and Regulations board pointed out Tuesday, many of those provisional ballots would end up not being counted because voters didn’t understand or were unable, because of problems with mobility or transportation, to present proof of citizenship before the canvass.

Trying to shove this responsibility off on county election officials does not fix the system that Kobach assured state legislators would seamlessly move voter registrations from the state vehicles division to county election officials. It also doesn’t address the broader legal issue raised in a federal court ruling that struck down Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration. Although the court said that states are required to accept the federal voter registration form, which does not require proof of citizenship, Kobach continues to contend that the Kansas law isn’t covered by the ruling.

The Kansas attorney general has been asked to issue an opinion on the matter. Perhaps the best outcome for Kansas would be an AG’s opinion that the proof-of-citizenship law is invalid. That would give the state a golden opportunity to reconsider not only the botched implementation of this law but the exaggerated voter fraud allegations on which it was based.


Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

--- In the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2004, four top computer scientists from the University of California, Johns Hopkins University, and Rice University similarly critiqued Diebold’s voting system.

--- "We found significant security flaws: voters can trivially cast multiple ballots with no built-in traceability, administrative functions can be performed by regular voters, and the threats posed by insiders such as poll workers, software developers, and janitors is even greater. Based on our analysis of the development environment, including change logs and comments, we believe that an appropriate level of programming discipline for a project such as this was not maintained. In fact, there appears to have been little quality control in the process.

--- 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.


Bruce Bertsch 4 years, 5 months ago

The point is that the people did what was required and now the "System" can't do what it was intended to do.

bad_dog 4 years, 5 months ago

"...without just letting anybody vote that shouldn't be allowed to vote."

This is about as red as a herring can get. How many documented cases of voter fraud occurred in Kansas in the last 10 years? How many has Kobach referred for prosecution?


jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

If the DMV asked if they wanted to register, and didn't ask for all of the proper identification for the state, those folks might not even know they needed more id, and may very well have thought they were registered to vote.

Your offer is generous - how exactly will you help them, and how can we publicize that help?

kochmoney 4 years, 5 months ago

I can't "like" a post the same way I can a comment, but I would if I could. Well said.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 5 months ago

Is Voter Fraud a Problem in Kansas? We may have approximately 12,000 New cases now. Thank You, Mr. Kobach. Your New System is working out just fine.(facepalm)

Dick Sengpiehl 4 years, 5 months ago

Kobach's voting fraud campaign was a fraud itself. A long time ago we had Vern Miller as the laughing stock of the country. Now comes Kobach of the multiple jobs. You're right, Doubting Thomas, now we do have many voter fraud cases because of Kobach's wrong headed thinking. Vote him OUT ASAP.

Joshua Montgomery 4 years, 5 months ago

I recall writing a limerick during the election about Mr. Kobach being like Harold Hill ( of the Music Man), pulling a con on the people of Kansas in order to get elected.

( Here it is: http://bit.ly/12F0V8a )

If you want to help the state avoid a spate of expensive law suites that will inevitably end up with this law being found unconstitutional (and, perhaps, find Kansas on the wrong side of the next Voting Rights Act) vote to send this gentleman back to the private sector.

Jaime Shew would make a much better Sec. of State. He takes his job seriously and is truly interested in promoting free and fair elections.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.