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Archive for Monday, June 23, 2014

Snags reported in online voter registration

June 23, 2014

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— People who try to register to vote for the first time using the state of Kansas' online system may be told initially that their registrations are incomplete, even if they submitted all the required documents, including proof of citizenship.

That's what happened to Lawrence resident Grace Morgan, 18, who said she used the online registration system and promptly received a letter from the Douglas County Clerk's office saying her registration was still incomplete.

Morgan wasn't immediately available for comment Monday. But her case is notable because she is the daughter of Scott Morgan, a Lawrence Republican who is challenging Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach for re-election in the upcoming Aug. 5 primary.

Kobach is the one who personally championed a new law, passed in 2011, requiring voters to show proof of citizenship when they register. And Scott Morgan has made that a central issue in his campaign to unseat Kobach. He posted comments about the incident on his Facebook page over the weekend.

"It seems like the very group that is so hard to get to vote is also the very group the system is almost designed to turn off," Scott Morgan said during a phone interview Monday. "A lot of people would get that letter and say, 'whatever.' I guess we have a fundamentally different view on where the burden should like — on the individual to prove they're a citizen, or on the state to prove they're not."

But Kobach defended the law. "It was designed to solve the problem of numerous aliens registering to vote in Kansas," he said Monday.

During a recent federal trial involving the Kansas law, Kobach said testimony was offered showing that between 2007 and 2009, as many as 20 non-citizens were registered to vote in Kansas. He also said that during a 1997 ballot election involving a corporate hog farm in Seward County, as many as 50 non-citizens who were actually residents of Guymon, Okla., falsely registered so they could vote in Kansas.

Although the content of the online form was designed by the Secretary of State's office, the website itself is maintained by the Kansas Department of Revenue, in part because the form requires cross-checking drivers license information that is already stored on Department of Revenue databases.

Officials in the election division of the Secretary of State's office said problems like the one Grace Morgan encountered happen because people have to upload photos or scanned images of their citizenship documents when they submit their application online, and it takes longer to process the graphic files than the simple text entered into the form.

"The data gets transferred faster than the document upload," said Bryan Caskey, assistant state elections director in the Secretary of State's office. "The county got the record that she submitted an application; then the image arrives a couple days later. So the county, as soon as they get an application without image, sends out letter" saying the application is incomplete.

Brad Bryant, who heads the elections division, said such problems usually get resolved on their own in a matter of days. But he said anyone who encounters such a problem should contact his county election officer to find out what is needed to clear up the problem.

Jeannine Koranda, spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, said that agency has not received many reports or complaints about problems with the system. She said the most common problem involves people who submit the wrong document for proof of citizenship.

"That's just a squirrelly system," Scott Morgan said. "It seems backwards in many ways. That's the state's problem, not the county clerks'."

But Kobach disagreed, saying, "The only remarkable aspect of this story is that a human being — the county clerk — did his job faster than a computer server did its job."

"Putting a process online makes it easy, but that doesn't make it instantaneous," Kobach said.

The proof-of-citizenship requirement went into effect Jan. 1, 2013, and was in force during last year's municipal and school board elections. But this year marks the first state and federal elections held in Kansas under the new law.

According to the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, Kansas is one of 22 states implementing new voter restrictions since the 2010 elections. And it's one of seven states where those restrictions are being challenged in court.

In Kansas, people registering for the first time in their county must show valid proof of citizenship when they register. That can include an official birth certificate, U.S. passport, naturalization papers, Native American tribal membership documents, or other documents listed in the state law.

A complete list is available on the Secretary of State's website, www.kssos.org.

The rule, however, applies only to people using the state voter registration form. People can use a federal form, which does not require proof of citizenship, but those people will only be allowed to vote in federal elections for the U.S. House and Senate.

Comments

MerriAnnie Smith 6 months ago

"But Kobach defended the law. "It was designed to solve the problem of numerous aliens registering to vote in Kansas," he said Monday.

During a recent federal trial involving the Kansas law, Kobach said testimony was offered showing that between 2007 and 2009, as many as 20 non-citizens were registered to vote in Kansas. He also said that during a 1997 ballot election involving a corporate hog farm in Seward County, as many as 50 non-citizens who were actually residents of Guymon, Okla., falsely registered so they could vote in Kansas. "

First, I have no doubt the man is lying. If he'd had proof of this he'd have presented a long time ago. He has been making this a nationwide issue for years. Who believes he would not have presented the proof of what he's saying here if he had any proof at all.

This is the sign of a very very dishonest person. Dishonesty is rampant among politicians and when they start openly lying to us like this, we should be angry about it.

Second, even if he had proof of 50 people registering in Kansas when they had no legal right to do it, he is not saying they actually voted. Why? Why wouldn't they have voted if they'd gone to all the effort to register? Were they caught? That should have made the news everywhere. FIFTY people trying to vote illegally in Kansas all at once?!!! Oh, yes, my friends, if that had happened Mr. Kobach would have been standing on his head to get to the media as fast as possible in an effort to prove he was right in all his vote blocking efforts.

It didn't happen. Maybe in his deluded nightmares.

And finally, if 50 people voted in Kansas illegally (he assumes all Democratic voters - but then he didn't say which party, did he? That's fishy.), and if he then created laws making it too difficult for thousands of legal Democratic voters to vote at all, how is the state hurt?

50 would have been allowed to vote - thousands would have been denied the vote (and he's counting on this still happening) -- tell me where the Republican Party is hurt by that.

The man's ethics are so thin you can see right through him.

Please, god, let's vote this skunk out of office this time.

MerriAnnie Smith 6 months ago

"That can include an official birth certificate,"

Does anybody know what they mean by OFFICIAL birth certificate?

Does it mean one that has been issued in the last year? I ask because I have had to present birth certificates in a few circumstances in the last 30 years where the requirement was that I not present to them a birth certificate that had been issued more than a year ago.

I just don't trust these people at all. People may run into all kinds of snags because terms are not clearly spelled out.

6 months ago

Of those 20-non citizens who were registered to vote...how many OFFICIALLY voted? Does anyone know of any arrests? The terms here are not clearly spelled out.

Cille King 6 months ago

"Kobach’s claims were vastly overstated. Over the course of a five-year period, there had only been seven cases of alleged voter fraud at the local, state, and federal law, and just one of those incidents had been prosecuted."

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/07/1972471/kansas-secretary-of-state-close-to-expanding-his-own-voter-fraud-enforcement-power/

SIDEBAR: Exhaustive Database of Voter Fraud Cases Turns Up Scant Evidence That It Happens

"A News21 analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent."

http://votingrights.news21.com/article/election-fraud/

Scott Morgan 6 months ago

I wonder if Arizona now in chaos with the flood of undocumented peoples flooding across the borders are glad they have some teeth in voter registration.

Cille King 6 months ago

Non-citizens do not want to draw attention to themselves by trying to register to vote.

Mike Ford 6 months ago

I don't think children vote do they? or is this statement one of the repeat GOP fibs that was true a couple of years ago? who cares deception works with GOP voters right?

Cille King 6 months ago

Scott Morgan, What, if any changes would you make with current voter registration laws / procedures? Jean has told us her proposed changes. What would you do as SOS?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months ago

"During a recent federal trial involving the Kansas law, Kobach said testimony was offered showing that between 2007 and 2009, as many as 20 non-citizens were registered to vote in Kansas. He also said that during a 1997 ballot election involving a corporate hog farm in Seward County, as many as 50 non-citizens who were actually residents of Guymon, Okla., falsely registered so they could vote in Kansas."

And why hasn't he prosecuted them? Maybe there is a lot of voter fraud. How else did radicals get voted into a state that is usually moderate?

Richard Heckler 6 months ago

All voters please check your voting status frequently even during two weeks prior to voting.

These ALEC people are messing with our rights to vote cuz they fear there are too many votes in the political landscape against their fraudulent politicians and agenda against the people.

Richard Heckler 6 months ago

Who Founded and Funds ALEC?

Who’s Behind ALEC?

How Does ALEC Work?

What Does ALEC Lobby For?

Undercutting Health Care Reform

Expansive Corporate Power and Zero Workers’ Rights

Tax Policy

Killing Public Education with Private School Vouchers

Voter ID and Election Laws

Obstructing Environmental Protection

Conclusion

http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures#Voter

Philipp Wannemaker 6 months ago

Mr Kobach said that between 2007 and 2009, as many as 20 non-citizens were registered to vote in Kansas and that during a 1997 ballot election involving a corporate hog farm in Seward County, as many as 50 non-citizens who were actually residents of Guymon, Okla., falsely registered so they could vote in Kansas. Would he mind telling us exactly how many actually, successfully voted?

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