Archive for Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kobach planning to throw out thousands of Kansans’ votes for state, local races

In this file photo from November 2014, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach testifies during a meeting of a legislative study committee on election issues.

In this file photo from November 2014, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach testifies during a meeting of a legislative study committee on election issues.

June 23, 2016

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— Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is planning to use provisional ballots during the upcoming elections and then throw out all of the votes for state and local races cast by the thousands of voters who register to vote at motor vehicle offices without providing proof of citizenship.

An email sent from Kobach's office to county election officials outlines the state's proposed plans for implementing a two-tiered election system in the wake of a federal court order requiring Kansas to allow these voters to cast ballots at least in the federal races.

The email sent by Election Director Bryan Caskey tells local election officials that the secretary of state has not approved a shorter "federal only" ballot.

Instead, Kobach wants to institute a "partial provisional" process that allows election officials to go back into those provisional ballots and throw out any votes cast in state and local races and count only votes cast for president and U.S. Senate and House.

The state had a similar process in place in the 2014 elections in which a few hundred voters who registered with a federal form were affected. But implementing it in the upcoming elections is estimated to affect as many as 50,000 who registered to vote when they got their driver's licenses without providing the citizenship documentation.

Kobach's move comes despite Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis finding in January that "no authority exists in the Kansas Secretary of State to encumber the voting process" as he did in the 2014 elections.

Kobach's planned response to a federal court order requiring him to register motor voter applicants "flies in the face" of the decision by Theis, who ruled Kansas law does not allow Kobach to implement a bifurcated voter registration system, said Micah Kubic, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas.

The ACLU contends voters covered by the federal court order should be added to the voter registration rolls and allowed to vote using a regular ballot.

Kobach did not immediately respond to a call to his office seeking comment.

Kobach has championed the documentation requirement as a way to prevent non-citizens from voting, particularly immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Critics contend the requirement suppresses turnout.

Kansas law has required voters to provide proof of citizenship since January 2013.

"It is a bad law, and we as citizens of Kansas do better to recognize it as bad law. It is not something that can be tweaked," said Marge Ahrens, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas.

"It is not manageable, it is written for no reason. These were laws that were designed for a problem that does not exist and still does not exist," she said.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson noted in her decision last month that the evidence shows only three instances in Kansas where noncitizens voted in a federal election between 1995 and 2013, and about 14 noncitizens confused about their eligibility who attempted to register during that period.

Alabama, Arizona and Georgia also have documentary proof of citizenship laws to register to vote, but Alabama and Georgia don't enforce them. Arizona enforces its law for some registrants but doesn't require applicants registering to vote at motor vehicle offices to submit any additional documents beyond what is needed to get a driver's license.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has set August arguments over Robinson's order, but in the meantime upheld her ruling while the appeal plays out.

The email from the secretary of state's office says a temporary regulation is "being promulgated to formalize the process in Kansas' code of regulations."

Clint Blaes, spokesman for Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, said the attorney general's office has not yet received any proposed regulations from Kobach, but would review them in the same manner as any other proposed regulation.

"The secretary of state is representing himself in this lawsuit," Blaes said. "Therefore, the attorney general is not involved in either the lawsuit or the operation of the secretary of state's office."

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 3 months ago

Sieg Heil!! Sieg Heil!!! The fascist Secretary of State is going to affect the will of the voters on some stupid notion that the voters that do not agree with the fascist Republican agenda should not be allowed to vote. Heil Hitler!!.......... He LIVES!!!.............. in Kansas

HOW THE HELL DOES HE KNOW WICH VOTERS ARE WHICH??? I THOUGHT THAT OUR RIGHT TO THE BALLOT BOX WAS SECRET VOTING.

HOW DOES HE KNOW????! HOW.......????????????...........

April Baker 1 year, 3 months ago

I believe the provisional ballots are given only to those people that haven't provided proof of citizenship. I would assume it's marked differently or submitted in a different matter.

April Baker 1 year, 3 months ago

Whether you're Republican or Democrat, or whether you think the proof of citizenship claim is legitimate or not, you have to realize how crazy it is that we're going to let the Secretary or State throw out 50,000 ballots that are deemed invalid... I'm suspicious of any government official that wants to toss out any ballots at all.

Joe Miller 1 year, 3 months ago

I read that Kobach is having an affair with Brownback.......these two are hiding their preferences by fooling voters into thinking they are normal............NOT!~

Gabe Hoffman 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm one of those voters who, in the last election, my provisional vote was nullified because a state issued DL was not considered proof enough. In addition, you had to go through several hoops just to be validated. This is clearly a move to curb voters they'll assume don't vote republican.

Cathy Bitikofer 1 year, 3 months ago

Most people of my generation did not have to provide proof of citizenship to get a driver's license, and have not had to submit any proof in subsequent renewals. Make everyone do it, or don't require it all of a sudden.

Randall Uhrich 1 year, 3 months ago

Like I said before, "provisional ballot" is code for "throw it in the trash" Kobach's voter suppression, the only voter fraud going on in Kansas!

Robert Moreland 1 year, 3 months ago

This insanity, is overt voter suppression and of course will be challenged. Kansas does not have any right to reestablish for itself what constitutes or not a US citizen, that is solely in the jurisdiction of the federal government.

If Provincial ballots are good enough for the Law of the Land, the federal government; whose law supersedes and is supreme to the state ... then they are good enough for any person in the US.

This double standard, is a scam to essentially abrogate the votes of 10s of thousands of legitimate voters on a false premise of preventing voter fraud. It is fraud in of itself that it has anything to do with voter fraud. It has everything to do with voter suppression, because that is what it does in effect.

The person that should be indicted for voter fraud is Kobach ... this way of attempting to worm out of a federal court order; should render him in contempt.

Right now both Brownback and Kobach should be facing Contempt charges. Kansas has become both an microcosm demonstration of the catastrophe of the GOP agenda and is a fascist controlled state that is in a self-imposed recession demanding austerity for its citizens (which are exodusing) along with (industry) ... and is becoming the laughing stock of the nation.

Michael Kaufman 1 year, 3 months ago

There is nothing in the U.S. constitution that says you are required to prove you are a citizen to vote. People have been voting this way for more then 200 years, and it would appear that if there is voter fraud, it is very hard to find proof of, and it hasn't seemed to damage the nation as a whole. Kansas has so many other problems, that this should far down the list of concerns. Maybe they are afraid that if everybody got to vote, they might lose their jobs.

Mary Ann Nelson Ellerd 1 year, 3 months ago

Another conservative megalomaniac inventing problems to save us from.

Randy Russell 1 year, 3 months ago

Komrade Kobach doing the good work for the State

Sam Crow 1 year, 3 months ago

Now, that was entertaining to read.

Lawrence liberals really are funny.

Sam Crow 1 year, 3 months ago

Then, are you implying you wont vote for him for governor ?

Tim Tribolt 1 year, 3 months ago

Rather than trying to win voters over with better policies that actually improves people's lives, the GOP suppresses the vote instead. They only win by cheating.

David Russell 1 year, 3 months ago

Kansas is becoming a third-world dictatorship ensconced in a state.

Your government has gone full-trickle-down and your economy is in the toilet and getting worse. Your government is fighting against educating your children. Your government is at war with the state's own judicial system and is trying to usurp its authority. Now they're going to throw your votes in the garbage.

Harley Wasacasie 1 year, 3 months ago

Kansas needs to change the states name to Koch Territory 1. The Kansas & American Sheeple just Love the way the Koch Bros use their Hand Picked Republican Employee's to do their illegal bidding. Kansas = In Koch We Trust, LOL.

Harley Wasacasie 1 year, 3 months ago

All the Kansas Republican Sheeple just LOVE how the State government is run & they want All of America to be Run, just like Kansas. Keep Voting GOP Kansas, that's the Only way to have Your Vote counted. So Sad

Richard Heckler 1 year, 3 months ago

Is there any reason why politicians are not prosecuted and charged with voter suppression?

Is there any reason why politicians are not hauled into court and prosecuted for breaking laws?

In Washington D.C. it seems politicians investigate themselves as well as hide results of "Blue Ribbon Panel " investigations"

There is something wrong with these pictures.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 3 months ago

BTW does the media or any investigative body know what has happened to the dollars for public education?

How did they get spent?

Who authorized the illegal spending of public education dollars over the last 6 years?

The formula was still the same and court cases have been filed which says to me those public education dollars should still be in the bank?

Larry Sturm 1 year, 3 months ago

If 50,000 votes are thrown out I hope that 50,000 voters mob him.

Larry Sturm 1 year, 3 months ago

We need an outside source to audit the Kansas books and find out where the money went.

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