Archive for Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Kobach argues for authority to split elections to enforce citizenship rule, claims as many as 18,000 noncitizens on voter rolls

Kobach has yet to prosecute a single immigrant accused of voting illegally

Secretary of State Kris Kobach is seeking authority to hold bifurcated elections so that people who register to vote without showing proof of U.S. citizenship would only be allowed to vote in federal races.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach is seeking authority to hold bifurcated elections so that people who register to vote without showing proof of U.S. citizenship would only be allowed to vote in federal races.

February 7, 2017, 1:54 p.m. Updated February 7, 2017, 3:34 p.m.


— Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach urged a Senate committee Tuesday to pass a bill that would authorize his office to block an estimated 18,000 registered voters from casting ballots in state and local elections if they registered under a federal system that does not require people to show proof of U.S. citizenship.

“The first reason we have this bill is to preserve the integrity of our proof of citizenship requirement,” Kobach said.

Last year, a federal judge in Kansas City, Kan., granted a temporary injunction blocking Kobach’s office from enforcing that requirement on voters who had registered using a federal system that does not require proof of citizenship.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach is seeking authority to hold bifurcated elections so that people who register to vote without showing proof of U.S. citizenship would only be allowed to vote in federal races.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach is seeking authority to hold bifurcated elections so that people who register to vote without showing proof of U.S. citizenship would only be allowed to vote in federal races.

That ruling, however, applied only to a person’s right to vote in races for president or Congress. Kobach then attempted to enact regulations that would have required those people to cast provisional ballots so only their votes in federal races would be counted while votes in any other races or ballot issues would be thrown out.

But a judge in Shawnee County overturned that regulation, saying Kobach had no legal authority to maintain two separate voter rolls or to conduct what he called a bifurcated election.

The bill being considered in the Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee, would give him that authority, at least until the federal courts make final rulings on cases challenging the law.

During the 2016 elections, Kobach’s office said there were more than 17,000 people who fell into the category of people who’d registered without showing proof of citizenship. During his testimony Tuesday, Kobach argued that there could be as many as 18,000 non-U.S. citizens currently on the Kansas voter registration rolls.

However, that number, which Kobach said he submitted as evidence in one of the federal court cases challenging the proof of citizenship law, was based on the same widely debunked study by researchers at Old Dominion University that President Donald Trump has used to assert that millions of noncitizens voted illegally in the 2016 election.

The study used large-sample survey data from the 2008 and 2010 elections that suggested roughly 15 percent of the adult non-U.S. citizen population in the country was registered to vote, and that as many as 6 percent actually had cast ballots.

That study was harshly criticized by other researchers who questioned the methodology and noted that many of the people in the original study who were identified as noncitizens probably were misclassified.

That’s because in any survey a very small percentage of people will accidentally check the wrong box or give an incorrect answer. But in a large-sample survey, those errors can produce a seemingly large number of people who claim to have a particular characteristic — like being a noncitizen who voted — when, in fact, they don’t.

Only four other people testified in favor of the bill, all of them county election commissioners whom Kobach himself either appointed or reappointed to their positions. In Kansas, the four largest counties — Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte — have appointed election commissioners while in the other 101 counties, the county clerk is the chief election officer.

Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman said her office has verified that 12 noncitizens have voted since 2004. She said one way officials know that is by attending naturalization ceremonies held in Wichita and signing people up to vote as soon as they become citizens, only to find out they are already registered and have cast ballots in previous elections.

She also said another case of a noncitizen voting in Sedgwick County had been confirmed as recently as last week.

Although Kobach now has authority to prosecute election crimes, he has only filed charges in a handful of cases, none of them involving noncitizens who voted illegally. When asked by reporters why he hadn’t filed any, he said that in most cases officials only learn that a noncitizen has voted long after the statute of limitations has expired.

When reminded of Lehman’s statement that one had been confirmed only last week, he said: “That one is one we may be looking at to prosecute because that person actually did vote, I believe in the 2014 election, but in most of these instances we don’t discover the crime that the noncitizen committed until 10 years after the crime is committed.”

But Rabbi Moti Rieber, of the group Kansas Interfaith Action, said the small number of noncitizens who may be voting does not justify the thousands of otherwise eligible voters being barred from voting because of the citizenship law.

“Eighteen thousand Kansans will lose their right to vote if this bill passes,” Rieber said.

Doug Bonney, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas who is involved in the lawsuits still pending in federal court, said passage of the bill would only result in more litigation.

“This law would be challenged, if it were to pass, on constitutional grounds under the Kansas State Constitution as violating principles of equal protection and due process,” he said.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has scheduled a hearing for March 3 to hear oral arguments in the case challenging the proof of citizenship law. That case will decide whether the temporary injunction she issued last year will be lifted or made permanent.


Alex Landazuri 1 year, 2 months ago

Which he has yet to find since given the power to try and find these supposed illegals

Calvin Anders 1 year, 2 months ago

18,000. Wow Kris. But I suppose that if you are going to exaggerate to inspire fear in the electorate, you might as well pick a ridiculously big number. It's hard for me to believe anyone is buying this BS. I can't imagine Kobach is doing anything but hurting his credibility.

Chris Bohling 1 year, 2 months ago

As I've said many times, the problem with voter ID laws is that all of the documents considered necessary proof-of-citizenship in Kansas cost money to get. You can't assume that everyone received their birth certificate from their parents.

So if a citizen has no proof-of-citizenship documents and no money to pay for the documents, under these rules, they are being denied their Constitutional rights. Since it's a financial issue, this denial of rights hits the poor and needy hardest.

If there were a nationwide system that allowed a person to receive a proof-of-citizenship document at no cost (and with expedience), I wouldn't have too much of a problem with this sort of a rule. But so long as citizenship documents cost money to obtain, this rule is unconstitutional.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 2 months ago

Among all of the horrible people in this country, Kobach ranks near the top.

He must be the worst AG in the country if he KNOWS that there are 18,000 people breaking the law, he knows exactly when they are going to break the law and he knows exactly where they are going to break the law - but he can't actually catch anyone doing it. Please, someone call Inspector Clouseau to help this poor, dumb man out.

First off, I've never really understood what the big deal is. Roughly 50% or less of people eligible to vote even bother voting and, to me, if you live here and you want to show up and vote, go ahead. Who really cares? Why all the drama about a right that half of people can't even be bothered to actually exercise.

It's kind of like the citizenship limit on the presidency - why do I care if you were born here? The last election proved that we have at least 63-million really stupid people living in the U.S., so living here doesn't necessarily give you any sort of keen insight.

Sam Crow 1 year, 2 months ago

Of course Kobach isn't the "worst AG in the country" as he isn't even the Attorney General.

He is the Secretary of State.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 2 months ago

It's actually an alternative fact....and I misspoke....

Bob Summers 1 year, 2 months ago

Why do Liberals want criminal trespassers to vote?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

We need to see your papers, Bob. I don't believe you are a legal citizen.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't even believe he's Bob Summers.

Chris Bohling 1 year, 2 months ago

Our objection isn't about that at all. It's about protecting the constitutional rights of citizens.

As I said above, the problem is that voting is a constitutional right and must be made accessible to everyone, and that right cannot be impinged without due process of the law. If you require documentation of citizenship to vote, you need to make sure the necessary documentation is available free of charge and with little to no hassle or delay.

To put it in context: Citizens who are homeless and broke are still citizens. They still have the constitutional right to vote. If you include a voting requirement that through context requires a person to have money and/or an address (as Kobach's rule effectively does), then you are violating the constitutional rights of those who may not have an address or sufficient funds to get their documents.

Kobach's law is quite similar to the poll tax or pre-voting tests that were used in the Jim Crow south - it's "fair" on the surface but in reality it disenfranchises the poor the needy.

Richard Quinlan 1 year, 2 months ago

Give it up Kobach , you got rejected by little donnie now youre back here making stupidity again. Must of all been republican voters cheating cuz the dems havent won crap in this state for a long time.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 2 months ago

When you are too nutty to get hired by Trump, then you know that you've really jumped the shark.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

A lot of people attended this hearing, and I love the facial expressions of the people behind him.

Phillip Chappuie 1 year, 2 months ago

There is no basis for any of this nonsense. Even if there were a handful of illegal voters...this is Kansas folks were voting against your own best interest seems to be a sport. In what world is an illegal going to influence any election in Kansas? All those good souls that just mark the box with the R next to with no regard to person. Makes me wonder what Kris is afraid of. Windmills? He is just a pandering grandstander. He couldn't cut the mustard with Trumps fraud so he comes home to stir up things and get his name in the paper.

Michael Kort 1 year, 2 months ago

How does Kobach find enough time to invent so many people that must have been invented (?) by someone else ?.........a "someone" that he has never discovered in so many years ? or prosecuted as a fraudulent voter creator ?, of voters who do not exist, who are invented by criminals, all out to destroy Kansas and democracy !

With all of his presidential advising and his writing of laws for other states might, that might explain his lack of any real, proven discoveries or prosecutions in any such matters, except that he hired lawyers on at the SOS offices..........and has so far just caught only a handful of senile older self entitled Republican voters .

Kobach is a real piece !

Bob Reinsch 1 year, 2 months ago

Numbers as high as 18,000... number as low as zero. Nobody wants to non-citizens to vote, but if you;re going to throw out numbers reeking of bovine scatology, try backing it up with some evidence rather than unsubstantiated paranoia and fear. As my high school calc teacher once told me, "I need to see your work on this exercise".

David Reber 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey say there are 18,000 non-citizens on Kansas voter rolls? OK, then use your power to prosecute voter fraud and start prosecuting them. No? Not a single prosecution out of 18,000? Why not? Maybe it's because you got that number out of the same dark orifice where you get the rest of your delusions.

Shameless liar.

That being said, this entire charade is pure political theater. Federal courts have already ruled that Kobach has no authority to implement a 2-tier voting system. Passing a state law that says he can won't change that. These yahoos need to repeat middle school civics class.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 2 months ago

The caption of this article should be "seeks power to STEAL elections"

This entrenched fascist is out to prevent anyone who might vote Democratic from voting.

He is a "mini-Trump in fact and function. Problem is....he was actually legally elected by the addled electorate.

What are we paying this fool for chasing ghosts??

Sam Crow 1 year, 2 months ago

Secretary Kobach was reelected with over half a million votes from 60% of voters.

It is funny that you think over 500,000 people are addled because they disagree with you.

You can not be taken seriously.

Mark Finger 1 year, 2 months ago

This article shows the typical apparent bias, because of the dismissal of a very thorough survey. To dismiss the Old Dominion survey on the basis of incorrectly marking their answers is like saying that the 2% of Kansas voters in the last election that voted for Jill Stein (the Green party candidate) incorrectly chose the wrong box. Not only did the survey find that about 1% of the respondents were non-citizen and either were registered and/or voted in elections. The researchers followed up and verified a portion of the total non-citizen cases from actual registration and voting records.

Closer to home, in the early 2000's when ACORN was doing voter registration drives in Kansas City, MO, the voter registration officials identified over 1000 fraudulent registrations in each of 3 consecutive election cycles.

I understand that there may be significant error in the survey numbers, but there is the old saying is that "where there is smoke, there is fire". Although these cases are not conclusive evidence of non-citizen voter fraud, they certainly provide a lot of "smoke".

Allan Dalton 1 year, 2 months ago

well i'm chagrined - here i thought donnie j was going to take kobach, brownback, & yoder into his oligarchy & give the people of kansas a fighting chance to get our state back into working order

John Patterson 1 year, 2 months ago


"claims as many as 18,000 Democrats on voter rolls whom he could obstruct and get away with it"

John Patterson 1 year, 2 months ago

Send them busloads of illegal voters to Abilene next time, they could use the turizm'.

Stuart Sweeney 1 year, 2 months ago

If there are 18,000 non-citizen registered to vote as he claims, why has he not initiated proceedings to prosecute them or removed them from the rolls. He has the authority which the legislature granted him. It sound like he is not fulfilling the obligations of his office and needs to be impeached!

Scott Bonnet 1 year, 2 months ago

Is he just a huge liar? Or does he actually believe the crap he spews?

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