Advertisement

Archive for Monday, November 4, 2013

Kobach defends voting laws at Lawrence luncheon

November 4, 2013

Advertisement

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told a Lawrence audience today that a new law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls and for new voters to show proof of citizenship when they register has made Kansas elections more secure and reliable.

"I think we in Kansas can say we've got the nation's most secure system," Kobach said during a Downtown Rotary Club luncheon at Holiday Inn Lawrence.

Kobach was the principal driver behind the 2011 "Safe and Fair Elections Act," or SAFE Act, that imposed new requirements on voters. He said the law is intended to prevent voter fraud and to ensure that all ballots cast in Kansas elections are from eligible voters.

But many people have criticized the law, saying it has prevented otherwise qualified voters from casting ballots, and a local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has notified Kobach that it intends to file a constitutional challenge to the law in federal court.

Kobach, however, suggested the law has had little impact on most people's ability to vote, despite the fact that 17,083 people who have attempted to register since the proof-of-citizenship requirement took effect Jan. 1 have had their registrations placed "in suspense" because they have not shown citizenship documents.

“As a former professor, and I'm sure as some of the other professors in this room would probably agree, it's kind of in human nature among a lot of us to procrastinate,” Kobach said. “And if a lot of people aren't planning on voting until the next even-numbered (year) election … they may be thinking 'what's the hurry?'”

Kobach also dismissed criticism that the photo ID requirement has been a burden. He noted that in the 2012 general election only 532 ballots were not counted, out of 1.2 million ballots cast, because the voters did not bring photo ID to the polls and did not provide one later, before the county canvasses were completed.

“That's really not that surprising,” Kobach said, suggesting that once people know the outcome of an election, they might not bother to come up with their IDs if they know it won't affect the outcome of a race.

Of those, he said, a check of motor vehicle records showed that all but about 30 actually had driver's licenses they could have used. And of the remaining 30, he said, all but two had some other form of ID they could have used in order to vote.

During a question-and-answer session, one person in the audience cited a national study from 2006 that found that as many as 11 percent of U.S. adults, or about 21 million people, do not have a government-issued photo ID. The study said that group included a high proportion of senior citizens, disabled individuals, minorities and the poor.

But Kobach dismissed that criticism because the study is seven years old, and the experience in Kansas has been much better.

He also said that most of the 17,083 people whose registrations have been held up are people who attempted to register when they applied for a driver's license. The Division of Vehicles in the Kansas Department of Revenue uses a standard federal voter registration form, which does not ask for proof of citizenship.

Kobach noted that Kansas and Arizona are currently suing the federal Election Assistance Commission, seeking a court order to compel that agency to provide the states with forms that include a proof-of-citizenship question.

Comments

Cille King 1 year, 1 month ago

"During a question-and-answer session, one person in the audience cited a national study from 2006 that found that as many as 11 percent of U.S. adults, or about 21 million people, do not have a government-issued photo ID. The study said that group included a high proportion of senior citizens, disabled individuals, minorities and the poor."

"But Kobach dismissed that criticism because the study is seven years old, and the experience in Kansas has been much better."

Could it be that voters didn't show up at the polls because they knew they didn't have the ID required?

Cille King 1 year, 1 month ago

The League of Women Voters of Lawrence/Douglas County is working with the Douglas County Clerk's office in trying to contact and help the more than 600 'would-be-voters' on the suspense list in Douglas County.

Few names on the list include phone numbers. So, if you are on the suspense list and get a knock on your door in the next weeks or months, it could be our "sincere women and men in sensible shoes" trying to help get your needed documents to the County Clerk's office.

Seth Peterson 1 year, 1 month ago

Could he be any more flippant and condescending? All while being wrong.

“As a former professor, and I'm sure as some of the other professors in this room would probably agree, it's kind of in human nature among a lot of us to procrastinate,” Kobach said. “And if a lot of people aren't planning on voting until the next even-numbered (year) election … they may be thinking 'what's the hurry?'”

I plan on using this excuse for everything from here on out and nothing I would use it for would be nearly as important as this situation. When you are dealing with someone's right to vote you don't get to choose to procrastinate and tell people to bugger off. I'm sure there are no shortages of individuals in this administration who are doing this.

Seth Peterson 1 year, 1 month ago

He also said that most of the 17,083 people whose registrations have been held up are people who attempted to register when they applied for a driver's license. The Division of Vehicles in the Kansas Department of Revenue uses a standard federal voter registration form, which does not ask for proof of citizenship.

One would think he might start to see the point.

Chris Golledge 1 year, 1 month ago

The math is right there, 532 ballots not counted in one election versus 13 incidents this law would have prevented over the course of 10 years.

"more secure and reliable." - Yeah, right.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

Kobach is the source of voting fraud in Kansas. Democrats are his target. That's right keep checking your voting registration status ...... do it frequently.

Do you have a birth certificate? Do you know where it is? They are easy to obtain by contacting the county seat in the state in which one was born.

In Kansas no voter can assume that their voter registration is in place. Why because the Brownback/Kobach team is purging voters.

Texas is doing it as well..... targeting democrats. I just read that former democrat house speaker Jim Wright discovered he got purged.

http://www.gregpalast.com/ballotbandits/

Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

The right wingers are screaming voter fraud to to pull the voters eyes away from them as they commit voter fraud right before our very eyes...... and they are getting paid to do it.

Is this a waste of taxpayer dollars or what? Or could it simply be fraud that deserves to be prosecuted?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.