Archive for Sunday, October 6, 2013

Democrats sense a chance of defeating Republican Kobach in secretary of state’s race

October 6, 2013


— It's not often a race for a low-profile statewide office in Kansas generates national interest.

But the 2014 campaign for Kansas secretary of state will.

The incumbent, Republican Kris Kobach, has become a controversial figure nationwide, pushing for passage in Kansas and other states of tough illegal immigration laws and new requirements for voting.

Democrats are hoping an overreach by Kobach will bring disaffected moderate Republicans into the Democratic column.

Two Democratic candidates already have stepped forward to face off in the primary next August: Randy Rolston, of Mission Hills, who is president of a mail-order gift company, and Jean Schodorf, of Wichita, a former state senator.

Rolston is a campaign novice, while Schodorf served 12 years in the state Senate, and recently switched to the Democratic Party from the Republican Party .

Both blast Kobach over the recent controversy that has put more than 20,000 Kansans — and the number grows by about 2,000 per month — in voting limbo.

"This is going to be chaos at the polls," Rolston said.

"People have lost confidence in the election process," Schodorf said.

But Kobach said, "Kansas now leads the country in securing the integrity of the election process."

The dispute is over a law that Kobach shepherded through the Legislature that requires proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, to register to vote. Kobach has said the requirement is needed to prevent non-citizens from voting.

The law took effect Jan. 1 and has left thousands of Kansans' voter registrations incomplete because they haven't provided the proper documents to election officials.

Critics say part of the problem is that many people register to vote while they are getting their driver's license. The federal motor-voter form doesn't require showing a document to prove citizenship.

So the would-be voters think they are done with registration, and either don't know there is a problem or will put off going down to the election office with their birth certificate until it is too late for their votes to count.

Schodorf said the law must either be changed or repealed.

Kobach pointed out that when Schodorf was in the Legislature she voted for the bill that set up the proof-of-citizenship requirement. "She evidently has lost confidence in her own views," he said.

Schodorf said she voted for the bill because she had an overwhelming number of constituents who wanted her to vote for it to see if the requirement would work. "Obviously, it hasn't. When you pass a law that doesn't work, you have to fix it or repeal it. The bill has to be fixed. It's broken," she said.

Both Kobach and his opponents are lawyered up to fight over the proof of citizenship requirement.

The ACLU, on behalf of several organizations, including the NACCP, has notified Kobach that if he doesn't fix the situation, it will file a lawsuit in November.

Meanwhile, Kobach and the secretary of state of Arizona are seeking a court order requiring the United States Election Assistance Commission to modify the federal voter registration form to include those states’ requirements that a person provide proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Aside from the voter registration controversy, Rolston said Kobach has neglected his duties as secretary of state. Kobach, as an attorney, has worked nationally to assist cities and states in drafting stringent illegal immigration laws. Kobach has co-authored the most controversial of those laws in the nation, including those in Arizona and Alabama, and is in frequent legal battles over the issue of illegal immigration. He also was a an informal adviser on immigration issues to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

"We need a full-time secretary of state," Rolston said.

Kobach has often said that he works in his spare time on immigration issues in other states and that work does not detract from his duties as secretary of state.

Rolston said he expects a low-key Democratic primary with Schodorf. "She has the same amount of passion that I do, and the end result should be the same. Our goal is to defeat Kris Kobach."


Steve Jacob 4 years, 7 months ago

I am looking at this race very closely. Democrats need someone to win a state wide election in Kansas, and this is the only real shot in 2014.

MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe we'll find out next election that Kansas has more Democrats and Moderate Republicans than we have extremist Tea Party people.

People who recognize that voting is important and that there should be reasonable attention paid to making sure people are eligible for voting; but never to the extent that we prevent legal citizens by the thousands from voting for no other reason than to keep the good ole boys who're already in office there. It's clear that is the ONLY reason for overly-aggressive voter ID requirements and gerrymandering and the proliferation of corporate and idealogue money flooding the airwaves with support for the extremists.

It's not often that there is a need for Republicans and Democrats to pull together in elections but we all hurt when the extremists take over our government, both state and federal.

That is clearly happening now, and we need to pull together. Whether we have a Republican candidate who has temporarily switched to Democrat in order to tackle this takeover by the extremists or we have a good candidate who is a moderate Democrat.

The party no longer really matters. Now we need to stand behind the moderate candidates, regardless of party.

And when I say stand behind, I'm talking about money AND talking to other voters about this problem. Too many of them get their news from one or two sources and never have the faintest idea they are being used by liars and cheats. Let's try to inform as many people as possible that we're in a dangerous situation where health care, immigration, and public education is concerned. If we sit back and let others do the work, we will deserve our losses.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 7 months ago

I believe that most of the 20,000 legal citizens who have been placed in suspense don't realize that they are not actually registered to vote. When they go to the polls and realize that they can't vote - they are going to be furious.

MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

As they will have every right to be.

Voter reform needs to be done in such a way that each and every voter whose vote might be in limbo should be individually helped to get their legal rights to vote set right, so that on election day there will be no big surprises to anybody.

Why does Kobach prefer a method that will cause thousands of people to be surprised when it is too late to fix it?

Because he knows full well he is blocking Democratic votes, not Republican votes.

He's not a man of good character, and those who support him, who think this is cool beans to throw roadblocks up that keep legal Democrats from voting... they are also low character people. Even though they might show up at church in their Sunday best every week.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

If true, then they haven't been reading any newspapers, listening to any radio news, or watching tv news.

This problem has been discussed in many forums.

Anybody who recently tried to register at the DMV should assume that it hasn't worked, and take the necessary steps to get their information to the correct place.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 7 months ago

Our local county clerk, who sends letters to those who are in suspense, says that they don't believe the letters, as they know that they registered to vote at the DMV and that they weren't told they needed to do anything else. And there are people who hold two or three jobs just trying to keep their lives together, who don't have the time to much of anything else. Then there are the voting commissioners who don't notify those in suspense.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, I have little sympathy for people who will ignore not only all of the reporting on the topic, but also letters from the county clerk.

I wonder if it works to just send information by mail, e-mail or fax - that way people don't have to take time off from work.

As I said, I think anybody who tried to register at the DMV should assume it didn't work, and act accordingly.

MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

They may well have heard about problems with voting, but here in Kansas it has been touted as a problem with ILLEGAL voters. These voters are not illegal, therefore they, in their rush and hurry to live their lives and care for their families, don't give it any more thought. They will be surprised then, at the polls to find out it was THEY whom Kobach was targeting for vote blocking.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Again, the reporting on this topic has been quite widespread. All anybody had to do was look at the LJW, which has had numerous stories on the topic.

And, they were clearly about this exact issue.

MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

Again, if they are unaware that there IS a problem, they may not be watching and reading news as much as you and I do.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, everybody has a basic responsibility to educate themselves, don't they?

If people choose to be unaware of what's going on in the world around them, what then?

I didn't register at the DMV, but I know about the issue because I read the local newspaper - it's not that hard to do.

gatekeeper 4 years, 7 months ago

Believe it or not, not everyone gets on this website. I know people in their 20s all the way to their 80s that don't ever get online. I know way to many that don't pay much attention to the news, mainly because they have very little time. What they do catch is a minute or two of CNN.

You should have sympathy for American citizens that will be refused their right to vote because of a stupid law written to eliminate a non-existent problem. They can't prove any cases of voter fraud, but they'll be able to stop 20K+ American citizens from voting. That's real American!!!

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

I have little sympathy for people that choose not to inform themselves about issues that will affect them.

I have a lot of sympathy for people who suffer despite their best efforts.

Some people may in fact be "too busy" to inform themselves, but I'll bet that most of the people you refer to have enough time to scan the local paper and see headlines, then read stories that apply to them.

I am not opposed to voter id laws in principle, since it makes sense to me to verify people have a right before they exercise it, but I do criticize the implementation in KS, of course.

Your post illustrates a problem I have with the left sometimes - they seem to dis-empower people and make them victims, even when that's not necessary.

If I had tried to register at the DMV, knowing what I know about KS voter id laws, etc. I would take whatever steps I needed to take to ensure I was correctly registered (in fact, I probably would have just registered at the county clerk's office instead, to prevent any problems).

tomatogrower 4 years, 7 months ago

And then Kobach will for sure be gone. He can't be bothered to contact those in limbo and let them know. He is too busy writing legislation for ALEC and for other states.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 7 months ago

Sit down "Stand on...feet". You've never spoken with undocumented persons as I have and asked them whether they're registered to vote or have any interest in voting. I've talked with hundreds and only one expressed an interest in voting. The people who you express disdain, simply want a job and to be paid. This is at low paying jobs multiple jobs that no one else wants to do. They're smart and don't want to draw attention to themselves. Why risk it by going to the Clerk's Office to register?

I'm one of those "Lib Dems" you don't seem to like and I have no belief that those individuals who are "illegals" will have any impact. But, you forget those children born in the US who are US citizens, will undoubtedly vote Democratic.

Too bad that Republican Tea Party types like yourself are putting the future of your party up for the support of uneducated and one-dimensional thinking people whose votes are based on the lies and biased views of Fox News and radio commentators who spew forth garbage and propaganda. (Not a good thing to build your future base upon.).

Go right ahead and vote for Kobach. And, you'll know I've already cancelled your vote. I trust the good people of Kansas will vote for a change.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

The right wing ALEC Tea Party is illegal. Posing as republicans is a fraud.

The right wing ALEC Tea Party has never engaged the ballot process to become a legitimate political party. Their over throw of the republican party should be tested in a court of law.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 7 months ago

Kkobach is just a symptom of the rot and decay that has befallen our state. Kansas is saddled with a voter populatrion of ignorant rural people who embrace racism against the President, bigotry against anything that is progressive and an unfailing loyalty to the likes of Ted Cruz, Rush Limbaugh and other anti-government entities. With the tea party, the NRA, the klan and other radical racist and biogted forces being supported, we get leaders like Kobach, Brownback, and the real power in the woodpile, the Koch regime.

OlDan 4 years, 7 months ago

"Both blast Kobach over the recent controversy that has put more than 20,000 Kansans — and the number grows by about 2,000 per month — in voting limbo."

Please cite the source for these numbers. Is it credible or more left wing propaganda? If it's propaganda, it's going to rise every month the more it gets repeated. Kind of like the game we played when we were kids where everyone sits in a circle and whispers a "secret" to the person seated next to them. By the time it gets around to the last participant, it bears very little resemblance to the original "secret". And how many of those in limbo even care a bout voting? In the 2012 Presidential election, Kansas set a record low for voter turnout with only 56.8% of eligble voters turning out. This translates to 852,121 eligible voters who apparently did not care to vote. How many of these were part of the supposedly 20,000 who choose not to vote?

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure you can get solid numbers if you call the County Clerk.

Last time I looked, it was around 16,000. And that was a couple of months ago. These were folks who had tried to register at the DMV, and their information wasn't forwarded correctly, and/or they hadn't provided information the state requires but the fed doesn't.

There was a court case in which the SC ruled that a state can't impose more stringent requirements than the federal government for registering, so all of these people should be able to register as they tried to do.

I know that many people don't vote (which is a problem), but I'll wager that people who are currently trying to register to vote will vote in at least a few elections after they're registered.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 7 months ago

So the number currently in suspense due to lack of proof of citizenship is under 18,000. The 20,000 in suspense include would-be-voters who have incomplete registration forms.

globehead 4 years, 7 months ago

Let's just cut the garbage and say it's just a thousand or so. That's WAY under what any source says and is still WAY too many. I just moved to Arkansas and my wife and I obtained new driver's licenses, registered three vehicles and registered to vote. The whole process took two an 1/2 hours and we even broke for coffee and pie between. Last year, it took me five trips to register my trailer in Kansas under this current regime. Govt. service in Kansas sucks. You get exactly what you are willing to pay for. Good luck in Brownbackistan!

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

Not voting keeps the right wing ALEC Tea Party controlling our state government with Brownback as the dictator general.

And allows Kobach to keep lying about voter fraud when he is in fact the fraud according to my speculation.

blindrabbit 4 years, 7 months ago

Pack away this embarrassment and his 1933 Germanic ideas about voting.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 7 months ago

How many 10's or 100's of thousands is this law costing the state of Kansas, Kansas counties, Kansas citizens? - lawsuits for Kansas; time, letters, postage for counties; filing and paying for documents and additional time required for citizens?

Is it all really worth it for a couple possible cases of voter fraud?

Brendon Allen 4 years, 7 months ago

The question still remains to jaf and the others why do we need a get out the info campaign to the people in suspense? Why do we have 20K voters in this state to prevent something that has never been proven here. And even if it did happen I can say it was in single to double digits so why is catching that problem overriding the rights of so many legitimate voters? It just doesn't make sense and will cost the state a lot of money. Of course the ones in suspense are likely democratic voters so I am sure they are rushing to fix it. It seems people are more up in arms, pardon the pun, about permits to carry taking to long to go through than that legitimate people can't vote in this state. 'Merica.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

I have taken no position on the voter id laws in KS here.

The only thing I've said is that people who tried to register at the DMV should assume it didn't work, and make sure they do what they need to do to register.

FarleyM 4 years, 7 months ago

I sense something as well. But, I am not at liberty to tell for fear of a firestorm of degenerative ideological accusations, based solely on emotions, vapid logic.

Mr_B9 4 years, 7 months ago

Why is any money being spent on lawsuits "hillsandtrees"? From where I sit the legal citizens of Kansas can register and vote in any legal election. As stated by another poster it appears that 43 percent of legal registered voters are too lazy to vote anyway.

"Schodorf said she voted for the bill because she had an overwhelming number of constituents who wanted her to vote for it to see if the requirement would work. "Obviously, it hasn't. When you pass a law that doesn't work, you have to fix it or repeal it. The bill has to be fixed. It's broken," she said."

Thats not true Jean. Your constituents wanted proof of citizenship. It had nothing to do with seeing if the requirement would work. No wonder you were defeated and then switched parties. You talk like Pelosi and that will not get you elected in Kansas,

So I say, whats broken Jean? I bet she is talking about Obama Care.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 7 months ago

The Supreme Court has ruled that Kris Kobach's AZ law requiring proof of citizenship is illegal. Kobach's Kansas law requiring proof of citizenship should also be challenged. Kansas will be paying for this and all the other unconstitutional laws that this Governor has signed into law.

NotImpressed 4 years, 7 months ago

What's broken is that it is fairly difficult to get the proper ID in KS. You obviously don't know that some of the DMV offices were closed, their computer system was broke and there are some counties in KS that do not have a DMV, yet this additional restriction was put in place. There was no integrity problem to begin with. It's all about voter disenfranchisement.

63BC 4 years, 7 months ago

Wait a minute, Schodorf voted FOR this?

How did Paul Davis vote?

NotImpressed 4 years, 7 months ago

Glad I left Kansas. Now, I can vote. After over a year, the KS DMV STILL didn't have their stuff in one bag. What a mess.

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