Archive for Friday, July 19, 2013

Problem of voter registrations in `suspense’ likely to continue

July 19, 2013


— A problem in the proof-of-citizenship law that has left the voter registrations of nearly 13,000 Kansans in limbo is likely to continue.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said the solution is for would-be voters to provide adequate documentation of citizenship, and a Lawrence legislator said the issue may end up in court if the dispute is not resolved before local elections this fall.

Kobach had said he would seek a permanent rule change to allow those whose citizenship documents had not reached election officials to cast provisional ballots. This week Kobach said he might not seek that change after all.

"We are re-assessing whether to pursue a permanent regulation," Kobach said.

Kobach had proposed a temporary rule change as a lead up to a permanent rule change.

But on Monday, the State Board of Rules and Regulation rejected the temporary change.

State Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, led the opposition to the rule change, saying most people don't understand what a provisional ballot is, and therefore would not take the measures needed to ensure that their votes counted.

The dispute is over a law requiring that new voter registrations have proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport.

But since the law took effect Jan. 1, 12,904 voter registration documents filed with the Kansas Division of Vehicles are being held up until proof of citizenship documents are provided. Local election officials say a number of people contacted to provide proof of citizenship say they presented that proof at the driver's license office.

Kobach's proposed temporary rule would have allowed those people whose registrations were in "suspense" to cast a provisional ballot. Their vote, however, would not count unless they provided election officials with proof of citizenship before the vote was canvassed, which occurs four business days after an election.

Dolores Furtado, president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas, said the league opposed Kobach's plan. "It doesn't fix the problem, it just disguises it," Furtado said.

She added, "Voters must be better informed about what a provisional ballot means. If the correction is not provided, the vote is not counted, and if the individuals are not informed, you don't correct the problem."

Kobach said allowing a provisional ballot "was to give voters an extra opportunity to bring in any citizenship documents between Election day and the day of county canvass."

But he said if he doesn't pursue that proposed rule change again, he remained confident those who want to vote will provide the necessary documentation.

He said people whose registrations are in "suspense" are being contacted at least twice to send in their documents.

Of the 12,904 in suspense, 7,361 are unaffiliated, 2,992 are Republican, 2,341 are Democratic and 210 are Libertarian, according to the Secretary of State's office.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the issue may wind up in litigation because there are several local elections across the state this fall.

"Unless these problems get resolved, someone may have to go to court to be able to exercise their right to vote," Davis said.

State Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence, said he recently emphasized to a group of high school students participating in the Dole Institute's Youth Civic Leadership program, that voting was a fundamental right. Now, he said, "Twelve thousand Kansans who may not get to vote, is a lot of people."


Evan Ridenour 4 years, 9 months ago

13,000 voters (and counting) disenfranchised to protect against ZERO voter fraud.

Welcome to Kansas.

Brian Hall 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes because voting doesn't see color, creed or intelligence. Voting is a right. And to take that right away from anybody or make it difficult to cast your vote either through laws demanding a birth certificate, gerrymandering or scare tactics is NOT what this country is about.

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

Should elderly people who were born away from a hospital and never issued a birth certificate be voting? Should people that can figure out how to provide the documents but are not asked for them be voting? Should people that do provide the documents but have the information lost by a computer glitch be voting?

The answer to all of the above is an emphatic YES.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

You don't get it. Most of these voters did show their papers at the DMV when they registered to vote. The new system, I think from a Texas company and large contributor, didn't get that information to the right place. It had nothing to do with the people, and everything to do with the stupid set up, or maybe intentional set up, since Kobach doesn't seem to want to fix it. Everyone of these people need to be sent letters, called and otherwise informed that they need to go to their county clerk and reregister, and on Kobach's office's dime. Of course, if he stayed in state instead of moonlighting for ALEC and other states, and did his job, maybe this could be fixed, but he has shown no desire to fix it.

mdrndgtl 4 years, 9 months ago

No, the founding fathers stated that true democracy, specifically fair elections, can only be achieved through each voters ability to produce proper documents proving said ability to make an informed decision based on wether or not the voter would, given the chance, drink a beer with the candidate.

John Sickels 4 years, 9 months ago

Some people are missing the point here.

Many of these voters DID provide the proper documentation at the DMV, but it mysteriously disappeared on its way to the voting clerks, despite Kobach's assurances that the transfer of information would be seamless.

He's a liar. He has no intention of making sure the information gets from the DMV to the election clerks. People who DID provide the documentation will be denied the right to vote anyway. That's Kobach's intention.

Mike1949 4 years, 9 months ago

I am afraid you are so right! I am sure a portion of this 13000 are angry that they have already provided the information once to the DMV, that they have to do it again.

Why should they, they did nothing wrong! Why are they being picked out for harassment? That is the questions that I would be asking if it happened to me!

What you get when you vote in idiot right wingers, you get corruption!

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

My Question is do any of these voters that are in suspense have the ability or Right to challenge all of this in a Court Of Law? Would this fall under Class Action status because of the number of individuals involved? What, realistically, Can they Do if they have given the appropriate information to the DMV but the info was"Lost" somehow? This situation only leaves us with more Questions, not answers.

hedshrinker 4 years, 9 months ago

this is the same situation with the Supremes revoking major parts of the Voting Rights Act which previously forced states with a history of poll taxes, outrageous blocks to voting for people of color were mandated to have any proposed changes to voting processes be pre-approved before they could be instituted. NOW, the state can make any changes it wants without pre-approval, and the only way changes however unconstitutional can be addressed if people file a lawsuit. Same question: who can afford that kind of litigation?

verity 4 years, 9 months ago

One important thing that never gets mentioned is that people with 8-5 jobs may have a hard time getting things done that require them going to an office that is only open 8-5 or less hours. They may lose those hours completely because they have to take limited vacation time or leave without pay. If they have to spend hours in line and then do it again through no fault of their own, that's a big problem.

Also, I don't see it mentioned how they will be contacted or if that is actually happening.

I wouldn't be rejoicing that there are more Republicans on the list than Democrats---see below for numbers of registered voters. The percentage of Ds on the list is much higher, but the real problem seems to be with unaffiliated voters.

As of July 1, [2010] Kansas has 1.7 million registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

To be exact: 1,701,520.

Of that total, 739,547 are Republican, 488,764 unaffiliated, 462,159 Democrats, 9,883 Libertarians and 1,167 Reform.

What this also shows is that the unaffiliated plus the Democrats would have no trouble beating Republicans. We also don't know how many people are registered as Republicans so thay can vote in primaries. Unless these figures have changed drastically, we have no excuse for electing the sorry excuse for public servants that we are doing.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

Kobach is singularly dedicated to preventing those voters who might vote Domocratic from voting.

That is the sole issue.

He was elected by an electorate who is unfortunately (for the entire state) addled by the Rush Limbaugh culture of "conservatism" and one party rule. He is a bought and paid-for politician (as is the "governer") of Kansas.

That is the sole issue.

We live in a one party regime that is doing all it can to preserve the "religious" and "conservative" mantra.. Sort of like the Islamic Republic model..

Catalano 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, they might "really want to vote" but depending on when, where, and how they were born, they might not have ever received a birth certificate. That's just one example. And suppose someone was born in another state, but now lives in Kansas. They will have to pay (call it a "poll tax") to get a copy of their birth certificate. Pretty sure poll taxes are illegal.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

They did do it. Why should they have to do it again, because of Kobach's incompetence?

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

I guess you're taking back your offer to help folks.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 9 months ago

Good thing reading comprehension isn't a requirement or else you wouldn't be able to vote either - they did provide the proper paperwork. The law doesn't do what it was designed to do, because the problem it's designed to address doesn't exist.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 9 months ago

How do we know that you are eligible? How do we know that your "proof" of citizenship is not a forgery? How do we know that you didn't steal someone's identity? All these "proof of citizenship" requirements are voter denial, a huge cost to the tax payer, and unconstitutional.

The Voter Registration form requires that you swear that you are who you are, under penalty of 17 months in jail. The irony: Mr. Kobach will not accept the sworn signature on the Voter Registration form, but will accept the sworn signature on the paper needed if you have changed your name or sex! What is he thinking - why isn't he requiring your DNA.

Joshua Montgomery 4 years, 9 months ago

Question for you Mr. Rothschild. Is this being challenged in court somewhere? If so, by whom?

If not, why not? Maybe ask an attorney with expertise in election law who might have standing to sue?

It would be a shame if Mr. Kobach got away with his effort to disenfranchise Kansas voters.

Kevin Millikan 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, they've done it..They have effectively blocked the votes of people they know won't vote for them. Happy Kansas?

John Sickels 4 years, 9 months ago

Just to reiterate:

There is a known problem: thousands of people provided the documentation to the DMV, which is supposed to send the information to the county clerks. For some strange reason, this information is not being transferred by the DMV. As a result, thousands of people who are LEGALLY allowed to vote won't be allowed to, because the DMV didn't transfer the information to the clerks. Like all other branches of the state government, the DMV is controlled by the Republican Party The problem of the "lost information" is known to Kris Kobach Kris Kobach refuses to fix the problem.

Is it a leap of logic to conclude that the DMV is intentionally not transferring the information, given that Kobach is doing nothing to fix the problem?

Kobach, Brownback, and the leaders of the Kansas GOP don't believe people they don't like should be allowed to vote.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

If the DMV said they saw the documents, that should be good enough. If Kobach isn't willing to do something about it, then he is trying to suppress votes. Period. And he should be charged with voter fraud.

Jonathan Becker 4 years, 9 months ago

What we got here is failure to communicate.

These suspense voters did show the proper paperwork at the DMV. The problem is a result of a low bid process that failed to take into account the need to transfer the original documents shown at the DMV to Mr. Integrity, our very own Secretary of State, so he could inspect the documents for forgery, because we certainly do not want the DMV, a division of the Kansas Dept. of Revenue (the tax man), determining whether someone can vote or not.

The irony that many people who would vote for Mr. Integrity are in suspense is simply a result of the Law of Unintended Consequences. I do not for one minute wish to make light of the fundamental right to vote and the sacrifices that many on the suspense list have made in defense of this country. Mr. Integrity, you made a mountain out of a molehill and your fix is worse than the ill you seek to prohibit.

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