Archive for Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Editorial: Registration debacle

With primary and general elections approaching, the governor and state legislators can’t continue to sit on the sidelines regarding the confusion created by the state’s new voter registration law.

January 22, 2014


Without some intervention from top Kansas officials, the state’s voter registration system almost certainly will find itself mired in legal disputes that will have a devastating effect on local, state and federal elections later this year.

Regardless of how a federal judge in Wichita rules in a lawsuit over voter registration forms in Kansas and Arizona, additional litigation will follow. If the judge accepts the argument that federal registration forms must be changed to confirm to the states’ proof-of-citizenship requirements, voter rights groups are certain to appeal. If he rejects that argument, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will continue his litigation, while also seeking to make good on his promise to pursue a dual voter registration system in Kansas.

Either way, legal arguments are likely to stretch on for months, while the number of Kansas voters whose registrations have been put on hold continues to grow and county election officials try to prepare for August primaries and November general elections without a clear mandate on who will be allowed to vote in which races.

The Wichita judge had been waiting for a ruling from the federal Election Assistance Commission, which, on Friday, rejected out of hand the request that federal voter registration forms be altered for use in Kansas and Arizona. The commission noted the “paucity of evidence” provided by the states about non-citizens registering to vote and contended that requiring proof of citizenship did not enhance voter participation and sets up barriers to voting that undermine the federal Voter Registration Act.

Kobach doesn’t agree with that assessment and has pledged to use the authority of his office to press the case forward or circumvent it by creating a dual registration system — a move that would be a travesty for the state.

Such a system, in Kobach’s mind, would allow new Kansas voters who submit the federal voter registration form — the one that’s used at the state’s driver’s license offices — to vote only in federal elections for president and Congress. To be eligible to vote in state and local elections, they would have to complete a state registration form and provide proof of citizenship. A two-tiered system for voters would create a terrible mess.

Who knows what happens to about 20,000 registrations currently on hold at the Secretary of State’s office because they don’t include proof of citizenship? Most of those registrations came from driver’s license bureaus across the state, which are taking no responsibility for collecting and forwarding proof-of-citizenship information. Someone should be demanding positive action to clear up this logjam.

The quagmire of legal and practical uncertainty that currently engulfs voter registration in Kansas has the potential to undermine the integrity of upcoming elections and even the legal validity of those election results. Legislators and the governor maintain that this is Kobach’s problem to solve but, if they choose to stand on the sidelines, they are tacitly approving of this voting debacle.

The proposed system to facilitate confirmation of citizenship has broken down. State officials must step in and put the proof-of-citizenship requirement on hold unless or until they can show it can be practically enforced without placing an undue burden on qualified Kansas voters who simply want to register and cast their votes.


Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

ALEC politicians are a drain on the state budget and put forth fraudulent exercises in the name of personal agendas. It is against the law to wage a campaign against registered voters which seem primarily directed at the democrat party.

No matter what all registered voters best check frequently to be sure YOUR name has not been removed from the voting rolls. I'm sure this group behind ALEC has some expert hackers.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

Just how tough are new voter identification requirements in Texas? Apparently tough enough that former U.S. House speaker Jim Wright reportedly was denied a voter ID card on Saturday.

The 90-year-old told the newspaper he realized last week that he didn't have a valid ID to vote in Tuesday's elections. He said he was refused a voter ID card because his driver's license expired in 2010 and his faculty identification from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where he teaches, doesn't meet requirements under the state law enacted in 2011.

Texas also has an ALEC governor and plenty of ALEC legislators.

Meanwhile new state voter ID laws snare women with name changes…… please be advised.

Bob Zimmerman 4 years, 5 months ago do you know that Jim Wright was actually Jim Wright?

Maybe he was disguised and he was actually an anarchist sent here from a middle east country to use his single vote to topple a state government.

Just be happy that won't happen in Kansas, by golly!

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

According to Jim Wright it was Jim Wright….

Julius Nolan 4 years, 5 months ago

And according to Kris Kobach, Kansas has a major voter fraud problem. Don't we trust our elected officials, after all would they lie to us?

John McCoy 4 years, 5 months ago

The great and sovereign state of Texas is now approaching 3rd world status. We are in the lower one-third in support for education, transportation, health care, poverty, and now only white Republicans are allowed to vote. Sounds a bit like Kansas in fact. Being a Texan with a conscience is not easy these days. The Jim Wright story is true, by the way.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 5 months ago

If republican ideas are so wonderful for Kansas and the nation why do they try so hard to keep people from voting.

I support Public Education.

I support Paul Davis for Governor.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago


ALEC has a new partner named Aegis Strategic

The firm, named Aegis Strategic, is run by a former top executive at Charles and David Koch's flagship advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, and it was founded with the blessing of the brothers' political advisers, three Republican operatives tell Mother Jones.

The consulting firm plans to handpick local, state, and federal candidates who share the Kochs' free-market, limited-government agenda, and groom them to win elections.

"We seek out electable advocates of the freedom and opportunity agenda who will be forceful at both the policy and political levels," the company notes on its website.

Aegis says it can manage every aspect of a campaign, including advertising, direct mail, social media, and fundraising.

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