Archive for Thursday, January 2, 2014

Editorial: System failure

State legislators have a duty to either fix or repeal a new voter registration requirement that could keep thousands of eligible Kansas voters from casting their ballots.

January 2, 2014


An Associated Press interview with Kansas Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan earlier this week helps clarify — but offers no solution to — the problems plaguing the state’s voter registration system.

The most important point in the story is Jordan’s acknowledgement that, because of uncertainties about the federal Real ID Act, his department has no firm plans to start issuing driver’s licenses that document the licensees’ citizenship status. That means the process Kansas legislators were counting on when they approved a proof-of-citizenship provision for voter registration has broken down and may be beyond repair.

Jordan confirmed that he told legislators before they approved the proof-of-citizenship requirements in 2011 that his office could collect citizenship information when Kansans renewed their driver’s licenses and forward that information to the Secretary of State to provide what was portrayed as a “seamless” process. Jordan said he made that promise based on his belief that the federal Real ID Act would require the collection of that data anyway so it wouldn’t present a big problem to forward it to another state agency.

However, since that time, Jordan said, the federal government has waffled on its enforcement of the Real ID Act, which was intended as an anti-terrorism measure. Until the federal government clarifies its policy on Real ID, Jordan said, there was no reason for his department to collect information for special IDs that can be used to enter federal buildings or board commercial airplanes.

That’s reasonable — except for the fact that Kansas legislators were counting on that system to make the proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration feasible. Thousands of Kansans are registering to vote when they renew or receive their first Kansas drivers licenses, but if they do not follow up separately and provide proof of citizenship, their registrations won’t be valid. More than 19,000 prospective Kansas voters have had their registrations placed on hold awaiting proof-of-citizenship information. A large percentage of those registrations apparently were initiated by people getting their driver’s licenses. Kobach announced later this week that his office would use Kansas birth certificate records to help reduce the number of registrations on hold, but that will do nothing to help people who were born in another state.

There could be no better proof that the “seamless” system that was proposed by Jordan and Secretary of State Kris Kobach doesn’t — and never did — exist. Allowing the law to continue in its current form could be interpreted as a willful attempt to deny thousands of qualified Kansas voters the right to cast their ballots.

Based on the fact that Kobach testified in December that his office had found the names of only 20 noncitizens among about 1.7 million registered Kansas voters, many observers still question the need for this law. But even if legislators disagree with that opinion, the intent of the 2011 legislation clearly has been subverted. Legislators now have a duty to see that the law is either fixed or repealed.


Beator 4 years, 3 months ago

The government forces you to buy health insurance that costs thousand and thousands of dollars. Why can't the force you to have identification that is free?

Beator 4 years, 3 months ago

If getting an ID is more than the mandated thousands and thousands of dollars spent year after year after year after year until death for health insurance, I feel your pain.

Thank you

Seth Peterson 4 years, 3 months ago

Where is the outrage from generally conservative supports over how much this system has failed (so much worse than the ACA roll out) and how the entire system needs to abandoned? Why are they not pushing for the repeal of this law as their #1 priority?

The definition of wasted government work:

"Based on the fact that Kobach testified in December that his office had found the names of only 20 noncitizens among about 1.7 million registered Kansas voters, many observers still question the need for this law. But even if legislators disagree with that opinion, the intent of the 2011 legislation clearly has been subverted. Legislators now have a duty to see that the law is either fixed or repealed."

Once false positives are shown I wonder how much we're spending to 'catch' each one.

Beator 4 years, 3 months ago

Why is it again the government can force me to spend thousands of dollars on insurance with no complaints for the intellectually complex crowd, and a free ID card is dire straights for them? I missed that in your false positive comment.

Beator 4 years, 3 months ago

oh, thanks, now I see why the distribution in complaints. ID affects everyone. Health insurance only affects paying people. Thanks

Cille King 4 years, 3 months ago

We're not talking about a free "ID card". We're talking about "proof of citizenship". Those born in Kansas can apply for a "free" copy of their birth certificate if they have an ID card or other proof of who they are. A woman who married and changed her name will also need to provide an "Affidavit of evidence of U.S. Citizenship". Of course, some people born in the U.S. were not provided a birth certificate - my father didn't have one.

Those born in other states will not get a free birth certificate in order to register to vote in Kansas. Some states charge as much as $50 and it can take a couple of months. Can you say "POLL TAX"?

Those who are naturalized citizens will need to have their "Naturalization Document". If they have lost it, it will cost hundreds and take several months to get a replacement. Can you say "POLL TAX"?

If the state wants to check citizenship - the state should have to use SSN numbers and the "Naturalization Documents" numbers and do their own verification. Something like e-verify for businesses to check citizenship status of employees.

But, I think it is all a huge waste of time, money, energy. People here illegally do not want to vote and draw attention to themselves. If a person who is not a citizen tries to vote, they are forever barred from becoming a citizen.

Beator 4 years, 3 months ago

I'll trade the cost of getting a "POLL TAX" ID, for being forced to pay thousands and thousands of dollars a year, for the rest of my life, for health insurance, any day.


William Enick 4 years, 3 months ago

Gov"t didn't have to force me to get Obama Care...I signed well as many, many, many others, who now & in the future will not only have insurance they can afford, but also they will
not be denied insurance, when they are considered to be to expensive and not worth fixing. (But I did hear A free lunch comes w/that ID card).

Jillian Andrews 4 years, 3 months ago

Because Kobach is busy trying to make a political name for himself so he can run for higher office. No matter that "voter fraud" is less than 2% nationally. It's smoke and mirrors to stoke the Tea Party base.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

The terrorists and frauds are in the statehouse aka The Sam ALEC Brownback admin ....... the ones that have been appointed by Sam. The GOP in general have become ALEC soldiers unfortunately and live in fear of being replaced by the same money that buys their elections.

Jordan's nonsense will cost the taxpayers plenty ..... there is no free.

This reckless bunch of ALEC politicians love the buzz word "terrorists". If known terrorists are in fact so prominent what is the reckless ALEC government doing about them?

Special ID cannot stop or prevent terrorism just like an expensive wall on the south border could not stop immigrants. Let's see the USA demanded the Berlin wall be torn down but now want a Mexico/USA wall of obstruction. Thus far all the wall plans have proved to be not workable yet corporate contractors have made billions.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 3 months ago

I do not think that tere should be anyone who does not recognize the efforts of the Kansas Republicans to prevent voters who might vote Democratic from voting. That is the issue, plain and simple.

Steve King 4 years, 3 months ago

Your being forced to buy insurance because you can't or won't do it on your own. Those of us who do are tired of paying your bills when you go to the ER for a chest cold. Heaven forbid you'd need a new kidney. Or you can just pay the $95 and keep sponging off the rest of us.

Think thousands a year is expensive? Try financing a heart transplant.

Mike Ford 4 years, 3 months ago

yeah but selling the fear is more profitable to someone right? I don't it Rupert Murdoch.....Wayne LaPierre? Jim Demint? Mike Huckaby? Rush Limbaugh? think of all the unemployed old White men if fear couldn't be used for political and financial gain? that would be a sad day.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.