Archive for Monday, August 10, 2015

Lawmakers question Kobach’s effort to purge ‘suspense’ voter list

August 10, 2015


— Four Kansas Lawmakers went on record Monday opposing Secretary of State Kris Kobach's proposal to cancel voter registration applications after 90 days if those voters do not submit proof of citizenship or other required information.

Those statements came during a meeting of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and Regulations, which reviews proposed regulations, but which does not have authority to veto them.

"I want to record my opposition to this arbitrary and capricious 90-day rule," said Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, who also raised new questions about whether the state's proof-of-citizenship requirement is constitutional, in light of a recent federal appeals court opinion.

Joining him were Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudea, of Wichita, and Rep. Tom Hawk, of Manhattan, both Democrats, and Republican Sen. Vicki Schmidt, of Topeka.

Since January 2013, voters registering for the first time in their county have been required to show proof of U.S. citizenship in order to complete their registrations.

During the 2014 midterm elections, more than 23,000 Kansans who had attempted to register since that law took effect were unable to vote because their registrations were held "in suspense" because they had not provided the required documents.

According to Kobach's office, that number now stands at more than 31,000 would-be voters.

Bryan Caskey, who heads the elections division in Kobach's office, said efforts have been made to reach those voters, but many of them have either moved or have not responded to follow-up letters and phone calls.

"It's been my experience as an administrator that if a person doesn't respond to repeated, repeated contacts pretty quickly, they're not going to respond," Caskey said. "There are other states, Arizona and Georgia, which have similar proof-of-citizenship laws that give their applicants 30 days. We thought that was too narrow, so we went with 90 days."

Caskey said the 90-day rule would relieve county election offices of the burden of continuing to reach those people long after it has become clear they don't want to complete their registrations.

But Ward said it could take longer than 90 days for people born in other states to obtain a birth certificate, and for many low-income individuals the cost of doing so might be prohibitive.

Ward said he might be able to accept the 90-day rule, "if there was some criteria other than, 'it's convenient for us and we think this is fair,' but now it looks like you just want to do this so you don't have me on television as much as I can, telling you that you've got 31,000 people who are not able to vote because of this voter ID law."

Kobach's proposal comes at a time when restrictive voting laws in several states are coming under renewed scrutiny.

In Kansas, an advisory committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission plans to hold hearings starting in January to look into whether Kansas' laws — including one that also requires voters to show photo identification at the polls — are suppressing voter turnout.

And in Texas, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that Texas' photo ID law can be struck down if it is shown to have a discriminatory impact, regardless of whether the law was enacted with discriminatory intent.

An analysis last fall by the Journal-World of registrations held in suspense at that time showed that the law had a disproportionate impact on young voters and voters in low-income neighborhoods.

But Caskey said attorneys in the secretary of state's office are confident that Kansas' laws would withstand a constitutional challenge.

The secretary of state's office will hold a public hearing on the proposed change Sept. 2 in Topeka. After that, Kobach can either amend the proposed regulation or finalize it by publishing it in the Kansas Register.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 7 months ago

What is this, state legislators who are owned body and soul by the Koch Industries Regime are wanting to question Secretary of State Kochbach on his plan to continue to deny the right to vote in Kansas??. You people ought to be careful, the Koch Industries Regime will have your butts out on the street selling pencils.

Cliff Sperry 2 years, 7 months ago

Fred, if you notice the legislators who are questioning him, I think you'll see that they are NOT Kochies.

Zach Davis 2 years, 7 months ago

I was born out of country to american parents and have a FS-240 Consular Report of Birth Abroad as my birth certificate which I have used my whole life as my birth certificate and as one of the documents proving my US citizenship. When I got my ID to vote they wanted a copy of my birth certificate and completely refused to take my FS-240 it took many calls and emails to Topeka to finally get them to accept it as the document it is.

Came down to the individuals at the DMV were only familiar with state birth certificates and not federal. It took a few months to sort that mess out.

Long story short is s*(# happens that does extend the time for stuff to get done like this and maybe some people just don't have the will to fight the red tape sadly.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

This man Kobach seems to be on a 24/7 covert operation eliminating voters. How many voters have been purged since Kobach came into office?

Perhaps that's why his name receives mention in a book titled Billionaires and Ballot Bandits. How to steal an election in 9 easy steps.

The most terrifying book any fine upstanding voter could read.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

Billionaires and Ballot Bandits delineates the potential theft of democracy.

Page 18: In the 2008 elections, according to the author, "5,901,814 legitimate votes" were tossed out. If Palast's contention is true, Obama may be in office only because he won by a landslide.

This year could be much worse. Since 2010, many Republican-controlled states have passed new laws making it far more difficult to vote.

It is conceivable that Democrats could lose the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Presidency -- even though we actually won.

Tuesday, September 25th, is the non-partisan National Voter Registration Day. Whatever day you read this, I suggest you Google and visit their website, and share with friends. Their official hashtag is #925NVRD.

Could an election be stolen? Palast makes the possibility plain.

Example: Remember how George Bush "won" the 2000 election by 538 votes in Florida?

Palast states that many times that number of Democratic votes were removed by something called a felony exclusion -- which denied the vote to both criminals and non-criminals alike! Florida is one of six states which denies the vote to ex-convicts. That was apparently used as a trick to deny legitimate votes. In districts likely to vote Democrat, voter "purges" were carried out. If your name was "Bob Lee" for example, and another person with that or a similar name was a convicted felon -- both names could be removed from the lists, declared ineligible to vote.

Page 20: "I started covering election games in 2000 when I got my hands on computer disks from the office of Secretary of State Katherine Harris of Florida. My team cracked the computer codes and found the names of ninety-one-thousand criminals -- felons -- Harris listed to purge from voter rolls. (91,000 -- and Mr. Bush won the election by only 538 votes!)

"We went through Harris's list name by name. We did not find felons. But most were guilty of VWB: Voting While Black."

On the very next page is a statement from Karl Rove:

Steve King 2 years, 7 months ago

He has to purge the list because in a year it will be 40,000. And the year after that, 50,000. At that point the people will start to scream. And he will be remembered as the SS that worked against the people of the state.

Steve King 2 years, 7 months ago

He has to purge the list because in a year it will be 40,000. And the year after that, 50,000. At that point the people will start to scream. And he will be remembered as the SS that worked against the people of the state. History will remember him as the worst SS in state history. His parents must be proud.

Barb Gordon 2 years, 7 months ago

They sent him to Harvard to be the worst SS in state history. It's hard work being this evil.

Bob Reinsch 2 years, 7 months ago

If we just eliminate the list, the problem will go away. There's a magical voter suppression fairy that will make all of the suppressed voters just go away, just like the magical poor people vaporizing fairy.

Randall Uhrich 2 years, 7 months ago

One of the jobs of elected officials is to ENABLE and encourage people to vote, not deny them. The instances of voter fraud, discounting this type of voter suppression, is statistically nonexistent.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 7 months ago

Wait a minute. Didn't the DMV dump all the voter ID stuff in Kobach's office, stating that it's not the DMVs job to validate voter IDs? Are these the same suspended voters that have never had their paperwork matched up?

Becca McMaster 2 years, 7 months ago

The 2016 election will be stolen by corruption of electronic voting machine software in those states that do not require the machines to create a paper trail (most states). The Republican's no longer need to purge voter rolls.

The issue of "voter fraud" is a smoke screen to deflect from any discussion about electronic voting machines and the inability of any voter to determine whether their vote is being counted correctly (or counted at all).

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