Archive for Sunday, October 13, 2013

Two separate classes of voters possible under Secretary of State Kobach’s proposal

October 13, 2013


— Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said it is possible to conduct elections — as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has proposed — in which some voters are allowed to vote in all races, while others are limited to only federal contests.

But Shew said that plan would require different sets of ballots, add to the bureaucracy of voting and may depress turnout. In recent years, there have been more forms to fill out and requirements to fulfill to vote, he said.

"As we add layers, does that discourage your casual voter from participating?" he asked.

The possibility of a two-class voting system in Kansas has arisen in the ongoing controversy over a new state requirement that people registering to vote show documents, such as a birth certificate, that prove they are U.S. citizens.

Kobach, a Republican and the state's chief election official, has directed county election officials to track who has used the federal voter registration form since Jan. 1.

The idea is that people who register using the federal form would be able to vote in only federal contests, such as for Congress and president.

That is because the federal form does not require a document proving citizenship, but requires applicants to sign a sworn statement under penalty of prison time that they are citizens.

But those who register using the more common state registration form and comply with the state proof-of-citizenship requirement would be able to vote in all contests, state and federal.

Kobach has said states "control their own elections" and that "the state is a sovereign co-equal in our system."

Since the state proof-of-citizenship requirement took effect at the start of the year, 18,188 people haven't submitted citizenship proof, and their registrations are "in suspense." In Douglas County, 862 voters are in suspense, 676 because they lack proof of citizenship.

Kobach has championed the proof-of-citizenship requirement, saying it is needed to prevent noncitizens from voting. Critics say incidents of noncitizens voting in Kansas elections are almost nonexistent.

Kobach has said the two-tier voting system is a fallback position if he loses a lawsuit against the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. In that lawsuit, Kobach wants the EAC to add the Kansas proof-of-citizenship requirement to the federal voter registration form.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court in an Arizona case threw out that state's law that requires would-be voters to provide documents proving U.S. citizenship.

But Kobach said the ruling invited states to petition to have the proof-of-citizenship requirements added to the instructions of the federal form. The American Civil Liberties Union, however, has said it intends to file a lawsuit next month if Kobach doesn't stop the proof-of-citizenship requirement.

State Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, an opponent of the proof-of-citizenship requirement, said Kobach's two-class voter proposal runs counter to decades of voter rights legislation that has promoted voting and empowered voters.

"It's a very frustrating thing to watch someone go about voter suppression under the color of law, and that is what he is doing," Ward said. He said the plan "will create chaos and confusion on Election Day."


Steve Hicks 6 months ago

Perhaps Mr. Koch...I mean Kobach...could give his two tiers of voters memorable names that will stick in our minds. No hurry: just whenever he has time to write legislation for the state of which he's an elected official.

He might designate his preferred class of voters, for example, the "Real Americans." And I'd suggest he designate his second-tier voters as "Non-Integrated Geopolitical Group: Electoral Reserve Status."

It will be handier for Mr. Kobach, of course, to refer to these second-tier voters by their acronym.


Jean Robart 6 months ago

Sounds like a slippery slope to me. Tread very carefully.


Autie Anderson 6 months, 1 week ago

I just don't understand how something that is so simple becomes so very complicated. I like living in a small town.


Chris Golledge 6 months, 1 week ago

Can't really think we need more paperwork and processing overhead in government.
Kansas has had about 8 voter id fraud cases on an average year. I suspect the paperwork and discouragement of voters is not worth the benefit. No, it is not a big deal to have to show ID, but you have to ask will there be more cases where a citizen goofs and does not bring their ID, or more cases where someone shows up to vote and been told they already have. Remember, your name is already on the list when you show up to vote.

More bureaucracy does not lead to smaller government.

"The map above illustrates the number of confirmed voter fraud cases found by News21 dating back to 2000. Out of hundreds of millions of ballots cast, they counted 633 incidents. Among states with voter ID laws on the books, Georgia and Kansas have seen the most prosecutions, with 80 and 97 cases respectively."


Richard Heckler 6 months, 1 week ago

BTW there is no record of any voter fraud taking place in Kansas. It is a myth but it does keep voters distracted from the reckless Sam ALEC Brownback mismanagement of Kansas finances.

Where is the $47 million tax dollars?


Richard Heckler 6 months, 1 week ago

Electronic voting devices can designed to vote wrong in which no one would know. The big names in computer voting machines are also large contributors to the GOP.

When it comes to law breaking under GOP watch we have Watergate and Iran-Contra weapons smuggling operation.

Under GOP watch the nation has recored two mammoth home loan frauds in which the most recent under Bush/Cheney brought down the world economy. Both the Reagan/Bush and Bush/Cheney fraud escapades also wiped out USA industry and millions upon millions upon millions of jobs that which have yet to return.


Cait McKnelly 6 months, 1 week ago

Mink, can you prove your accusations of "voter fraud" in Kansas City, Chicago and the like? Just how many "illegal" voters were involved?
Elections aren't stolen by the occasional illegal voter. They are stolen by the likes of Karl Rove, who I am CONVINCED was blocked by Anonymous on election night from stealing the Presidential election through computer fraud. The shenanigans he attempted to pull with the Ohio Secretary of State are pretty well documented. His near pants wetting shock on election night when his pipeline to Tennessee was blocked was a sight to behold.
Really, Mink? Really?? ONE PERSON pleads guilty to illegal voting and that's an excuse to disenfranchise 22,000 voters?
Give me a break.


Mink Munsway 6 months, 1 week ago

State Rep (D) Jim Ward, do you know what empowers voters? Answer: Proof of Citizenship. I have to show proof when I purchase a handgun. It is my constitutional right to own a handgun, but I must submit to an ID and proof of residency, further, I have to pass a background check. I have to fill out a form that is several pages long, I must swear by signature that what I have entered on the form is true and correct.

To register to vote, you just have to show proof, then you are registered for life unless you move to another district, but it is just a simple show of paper. The state waives the fee for a birth certificate copy (if born in Kansas) if you are on fixed or low income. There are a myriad of other methods to prove citizenship that the state will assist or local organizations will help to get the documents.

The Democratic party has a reputation for cheating and voter fraud that it has earned in places like Chicago, Kansas City, New York and recently in Ohio.

The Secretary of State is working very hard to suppress any potential (illegal) voters who might not vote "legally".


Marley Schnauzer 6 months, 1 week ago

The Secretary of State is working very hard to suppress any potential voters who might not vote "correctly".


Autie Anderson 6 months, 1 week ago

I think the Secretary of State is clearly outside his mind. Is he bringing back some form of separate but equal doctrine? There is no way this nonsense can meet muster in the courts. Why do we allow this Secretary to entertain us by curtailing rights and wasting thousands upon thousands of tax payer dollars? Just because he choses to have Quixote like mis-adventures?


Florida Jayhawk 6 months, 1 week ago

If voters cannot prove they are a citizen they should not be allowed to vote. Period. I support the Secratry of State.


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