Archive for Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Prosecutors question Kobach claims of voter fraud in Kansas

February 10, 2015, 12:46 p.m. Updated February 10, 2015, 10:02 p.m.


— Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect behind some of the nation's strictest voter ID requirements, is asking lawmakers to give him the power to press voter fraud charges because he says prosecutors do not pursue cases he refers.

The state's top federal prosecutor, however, says Kobach has not sent any cases his way. Some county prosecutors say cases that have been referred did not justify prosecution.

The conservative Republican publicly chastised Kansas-based U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom late last year, telling Topeka television station WIBW he had referred voter fraud cases to Grissom and that Grissom didn't "know what he's talking about" when he said voter fraud doesn't exist in Kansas.

But in a Nov. 6 letter sent from Grissom to Kobach and obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, the prosecutor responded that his office received no such referrals from Kobach, and chided the secretary of state for his statements.

"Going forward, if your office determines there has been an act of voter fraud please forward the matter to me for investigation and prosecution," Grissom wrote. "Until then, so we can avoid misstatements of facts for the future, for the record, we have received no voter fraud cases from your office in over four and a half years. And, I can assure you, I do know what I'm talking about."

Grissom told the AP last week that Kobach never replied to his letter.

"We want to uphold the integrity of the voting system and people's ability to exercise their right and have their voice heard as part of the process," Grissom said. "And we have the ability, we have the resources, to prosecute any case in which someone believes there has been any voter fraud or voter misrepresentation."

Kobach acknowledged in an email to the AP last week that his office never has sent suspected voter fraud cases to Grissom, citing instead what he said was inaction on cases referred by his predecessor.

Grissom said the FBI determined two cases referred before Kobach took office in January 2011 were not voter fraud.

Kobach said last week that his office "felt it would be more productive to refer cases first to Kansas county attorneys rather than sending them first to Mr. Grissom's office."

"That is the approach we have taken for the last few years," he said.

Kobach told lawmakers last month that in the 2010 and 2012 Kansas elections, for which there were 1.7 million registered voters, his office found 18 total cases where someone double-voted by voting in advance in one state and at the polls in another.

He said 15 cases were referred to county prosecutors, one was dropped because the voter had died, one was sent to the FBI and one was referred to the Texas attorney general, who Kobach said was more aggressive about pursuing voter fraud cases than some Kansas prosecutors.

Kobach said action was taken in only seven cases, which is why he needs the power to press charges himself.

The Sedgwick County district attorney's office, located in the state's largest metropolitan area, said it investigated the one case Kobach referred to there, but the facts behind it didn't warrant prosecution. The chief of staff for the Shawnee County Attorney's Office, Lee McGowan, said Kobach never referred a voter fraud case to him, even though the case Kobach sent to the Texas attorney general's office involved a Shawnee County voter.

"We have 105 counties with 105 county attorneys — I don't know how having 106 is going to make it any better. I just don't see the need for it," said Barry Disney, the senior deputy prosecutor at the Riley County attorney's office.

In addition to giving the state's top election office prosecutorial authority, proposed legislation being pushed by Kobach would expand the Kansas attorney general's power to independently prosecute local election offenses without getting county prosecutors' approval, which currently is required by Kansas law. It also increases voter fraud penalties.

Proponents of strong voter ID laws say they're designed to combat voter fraud. Critics say they're crafted to keep Democratic-leaning constituencies — such as minorities and poor people — away from the polls. Studies have shown minority and low-income voters are more likely to lack a driver's license and have access to secure housing, leading to more frequent changes in addresses and voting precincts.


Phillip Chappuie 2 years, 7 months ago

Kobach will not allow reality to get in the way of a good story. He is kind of off the deep end with the nonsense. As though any alleged voter fraud influenced a thing in this State. Is he kidding us?

Tyler Palmer 2 years, 7 months ago

Kobach is clearly only interested in angling for either an appointment to a federal office under a Republican administration or running for Governor after Brownback leaves. The things he's been pushing have nothing to do with working for the best interests of the citizens of Kansas, they are only to boost his political resume. This is very similar to what Brownback has done. He never really wanted to be Governor of Kansas, he wanted to run for president, but knew he needed to demonstrate executive experience and his ability to ram through radical, rightwing ideological policies. It was easier to do this by becoming Governor than by remaining in the Senate. He couldn't care less about the people of Kansas as long as he can add lines to his resume and political rhetoric. Neither of these guys understands nor cares what the lives of average folks are like and how their policies affects average folks.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 7 months ago

Unless that's how these creeps got reelected.

Lawrence Freeman 2 years, 7 months ago

The biggest source of voter fraud is koback himself.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 7 months ago

Kobach has been effective in withholding Kansas voter registration from upwards of 25,000 citizens, and nothing has been done to rectify that stunning campaign to suppress votes. Very stupid of him to attack U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom as clueless about [non-existent] voter fraud cases he'd [never actually] sent Grissom. Stick to trying to bully Kansas County Clerks, Kobach, because them Feds just don't play. Thank God for Jamie Shew here in Douglas County.

Lawrence Freeman 2 years, 7 months ago

My above comment was meant for Cille King.

Stuart Evans 2 years, 7 months ago

I think his plan must be to flood them with bogus accounts and requests, so that when actual frauds occurred to reelect brownback, nobody would notice.

Cille King 2 years, 7 months ago

Kobach finding voter fraud? Not so much...

"While campaigning to become Kansas' secretary of state, Kris Kobach held a press conference to make the case for a photo ID requirement at the polls. In his argument, he noted that a man named Alfred K. Brewer, who died in 1996, had voted in the 2010 primary.

There was just one problem with that: Brewer wasn't dead.

Shortly after the press conference, Brewer's wife received a call regarding her husband's "passing."

"And she says, 'Well, why do you want to talk to me? He's out raking leaves,'" Brewer says."

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has continued his push for his intended voting requirements, including a "proof of citizenship" document and a two-tiered voting system.

"In an op-ed published on the website of KSAL this week, Kobach charges that the plan is necessary because of "rampant voter fraud" …

During Kansas' first territorial election in 1855."

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 7 months ago

But there are plenty of people out there who will repeat that same lie. Point it out to them and they'll just attack you personally, calling you names.

Stuart Sweeney 2 years, 7 months ago

Attacking Barry Grissom's credibility is about as low as this slimeball, Kochbach, can go.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 7 months ago

We used to have a "poll tax" in the country. This way the government could control the economic status of voters, those who could not pay the tax. That was eliminated many years ago.

Now we get a new fascist who wants to control the persons who will be allowed to vote. We have a new "poll tax" from this person who was supposedly elected to be Secretary of State, but who champs at the bit to be controller of all the voters in the United States. You know, a new method of controlling the persons who elect the government, sort of like, well.. in Germany in the 1930's??

Hmmmm. I wonder who in the past history of the world has done this. Can you think of anyone?? hmmmmmmm.

(can't say" Nazis"......gets too many people worked up to even think of having such a depraved person in office)

Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

The frauds are in the statehouse. They perpetrate this other nonsense to take the spot light off themselves .... the frauds.

Hell this crew are no where near being republicans. Instead they are fundamentalist right wing libertarians with a fascist bent = FRAUDS.

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