Archive for Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Editorial: Broken system

The plan to shift proof-of-citizenship documents from driver’s license offices to election officials has fallen apart, and Kansans are waiting to see how state officials will repair the state’s flaw

September 18, 2013


So much for the “seamless” system of moving citizenship information from the Kansas Department of Revenue to Kansas election officials.

The demise of the system touted by Secretary of State Kris Kobach when he pushed for passage of a law requiring new Kansas voters to provide proof of citizenship was confirmed in a recent interview in which Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan said Kansas no longer plans to require people obtaining or renewing driver’s licenses to produce proof they are living in the U.S. legally. If people voluntarily present birth certificates, passports or other citizenship documents when getting their licenses, that will be noted on their driver’ licenses, but the Revenue Department apparently will take no responsibility for gathering or forwarding that information to facilitate voter registration in the state. The federal “Motor Voter” law requires that people be allowed to register to vote when they get a driver’s license, but it includes no provision for proving citizenship.

State officials originally had planned to require additional information on drivers licenses to conform to a 2005 federal anti-terrorism law. However, after learning recently that Kansas already complies with the federal law, the Revenue Department decided to shift its policy. The driver’s license offices have had problems of their own serving customers in a timely fashion, and, as Jordan noted, the primary purpose of those offices is to issue driver’s licenses, not collect voter registration data. “(P)eople are coming in for a driver’s license,” he said, “and we want to move them through.”

Interestingly, Jordan also said his department was responding to concerns that some Kansas residents seeking licenses wouldn’t be able to produce citizenship documents. That is the same concern voiced by many critics of the voter registration requirement, who note the difficulty people who were born at home or in another state might have in obtaining a birth certificate and the obstacles people who have changed their names because of marriage or divorce might face in proving their citizenship.

Meanwhile, the registrations of about 17,000 prospective Kansas voters — more than 80 percent of which came from motor vehicle offices — are on hold because they don’t include citizenship documentation. Kobach has proposed a dual registration system that would allow those people to vote in federal, but not state or local, elections. He also is involved in a federal lawsuit seeking the right for Kansas to alter the federal Motor Voter registration form to require proof of citizenship. What he hasn’t done — with fall elections looming in some Kansas communities — is come up with a way to deal with the 17,000 registrations that are being held “in suspense.” It apparently isn’t much of a priority for Kobach, who has said that many people who fill out voter registration forms when they get a driver’s license don’t intend to go to the polls anyway.

What a deplorable attitude for the state’s top election official to take toward voters. His job should be to make sure as many people as possible register and cast their votes. The seamless system he promised to state legislators has fallen apart. The people of Kansas are waiting to hear how Secretary Kobach plans to deal with that situation and maintain the integrity of the state’s election system.


repaste 4 years, 7 months ago

In order to have integrity in the system, you have to have integrity in the leader of the system.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 7 months ago

I remember the time when no one knew who the Kansas Secretary of State was and had no idea what his/her job description was. Ok, we still don't know what the job description is because Kobach doesn't do it. Ah, the good old days when voting wasn't controversial and there wasn't a weekly story in the newspaper about "legal" disenfranchisement of voters.

repaste 4 years, 7 months ago

People in overland park knew who KKK was, and groaned when the pompous blowhard became Secretary of state.

William Weissbeck 4 years, 7 months ago

Unless and until the GOP moderates, especially those who were booted out last election, are willing to switch parties and/or form a third party, this amounts to nothing more than sound and fury. The German generals, many who were not Nazis, willing went along with the madman Hitler despite their better judgment, until it was too late.

ENVIROPEACE 4 years, 7 months ago

Other than creating voter obstruction, what is it exactly that Kobach is supposed to be doing? I'd really like to know what he's actually completed and at what cost.

Satirical 4 years, 7 months ago


I think I can answer one of your queestions...what is Kobach suppose to be doing?

Creating trust in the voting process that every vote is legitimate to encourage greater voter turnout and strengthen our democracy.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 7 months ago

So then he's just a massive failure and doesn't understand how this would be accomplished? I can agree with this.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 7 months ago

The train wreck known as Kris Kobach could become a blessing if it helps the people of Kansas realize how politicians in this state have been taking advantage of us.

What will it take to get people to question their lifelong political loyalties and perhaps consider that they might have been deceived just a little bit?

lucky_guy 4 years, 7 months ago

This is exactly what Kobach wanted, and exactly what his backers wanted as well. He knows that the more voters he can obstruct the better. The voters that are already registered voted him and all his crazy friends in office. If he lets anyone else vote they might vote him out. Kobach wins and Kansas loses and that is what this has always been about.

nick_s 4 years, 7 months ago

Im just waiting for the proof of all those illegal voters. All of these months of hearing politicians, & regular citizens bickering about this voting issue, have we ever seen one shred of proof that this is even a problem? I have been paying attention to the newspapers; ljworld, cjonline, kansas city star,cnn, etc, since this became an issue & nowhere have I seen solid proof.

People throw around numbers, & say they saw something quoting this number or saying that, but not once have I seen documented evidence of this being the huge issue it has been chalked up to be. Come on guys, we need some proof. I agree that only citizens should be able to vote, but I dont think the ends justfiy the means in this case. Until I see some proof, you know, like dinosaur bones prove dinosaurs, human fossils prove existence before 2000 years ago, etc, I just dont get how people are going along with this junk.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 7 months ago

I have had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of "undocumented persons" regarding their voting patterns. To a person, they have absolutely no interest in voting. What they're interested in is working 40 to 80 hours a week in jobs that Americans shun. They haven't participated in elections, federal, state or local. This entire program is a ruse to disenfranchise legal Americans from voting.

Satirical 4 years, 7 months ago

I am just glad you don't need any proof of citizenship or ID before excercising constitutional rights, like voting or buying a firearm.

Too soon?

IndusRiver 4 years, 7 months ago

What's the Matter with Kansas? Thomas Frank, author.

IndusRiver 4 years, 7 months ago

Target a population. Villify them. Run thousands out of jobs and off their farms.-- terrorize, terrorize, terrorize. Jails, prisons, hospitals all full. Cons plan since the 1960's.

weeslicket 4 years, 7 months ago

questions: if these 17,000 or so voters are not allowed to vote in any one of these elections, can these disenfranchised voters file a class action suit against mr. kobach (in his official capacity, or as a private person)? does this disenfranchisement create the grounds for a civil rights suit federally?

i have wondered, because mr. kobach et. al. are perfectly conscious their choices in all of this. it's not as though these are accidents that just happened suddenly. it's not as though he doesn't have time to correct the errors in his work.

anyway. any free legal opinions? thank you.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago


But, the smarter thing for prospective voters to do would be to get their information to the correct office, and vote.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 7 months ago

The ACLU is looking for more plaintiffs (those who are in suspense on voter registration) in their lawsuit. Those who are disenfranchised can contact the ACLU for more information.

Bob Burton 4 years, 6 months ago

Hepburn, We are not after the undocumented voter, we are after the Democrat who votes 2 or 3 times. You know like the KC Star guy that voted in Johnson County & then over in K.C., Mo. That is who we are after. Oh, he did not go to jail because he was a Democrat, you know different rules for different parties. You all enjoy the nice weather.

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