Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Kansas’ Kris Kobach can’t defend his voter ID law

It was about a week ago that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wrote an opinion piece in The Wichita Eagle defending his voter ID law. Kobach has made a career promoting that law, not only in Kansas but elsewhere.
That new law is probably the most racist and xenophobic action taken in Kansas since the Ku Klux Klan had influence here. Members of the organization KanVote have accused Kobach of trying to stop minorities, poor people and immigrants from voting.
In Kobach’s own words to The Wichita Eagle:
“Because of the Secure and Fair Elections Act of 2011, Kansas now leads the way in securing the integrity of elections. Our photo-ID and proof-of-citizenship rules make election fraud extremely difficult.”
Not only is voting fraud harder to get away with, but a lot of eligible voters are also having a hard time getting to vote. The ACLU has charged that the new law hasprevented 18,000 voters in Kansas from voting in local contests even though they can vote in federal elections. The documents needed for proof of citizenship in state or local elections are not needed for federal contests. That has lead to a two tier system.
The ACLU is not the only organizations to charge that more than 10,000 people who were able to vote before the new law can no longer vote today.
How much voter fraud has this new law prevented? Before the law, Kobach often agreed in public forums that there were about 20 confirmed cases of fraud the years before he passed this law. In 2006 U.S. Attorney spokesman Jim Crosssaid their office received 10 to 20 voting-related complaints.
Kobach pointed out in his article that other states have adopted Kansas’ anti-fraud law:
“Other states, such as Alabama and Pennsylvania, have since adopted parts of the Kansas model.”
This is because Kobach has spent a lot of his time traveling to other states to promote his anti-voting law. That means he has spent less time doing the job he was elected to do.
Another state that adopted such laws was Arizona. On June 17th, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down voter registration requirements in Arizona that were essentially identical to those in Kansas. The organization KanVote is pushing for Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to strike down Kobach’s law here in this state.
And Still Kobach has defended his law despite the Supreme Court decision:
“First, the (Wichita Eagle) editorial board incorrectly claimed that the Supreme Court invalidated Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement. On the contrary, the court reaffirmed Arizona’s right to require proof of citizenship from registering voters. The court held that every state has the sovereign authority to establish and enforce voter qualifications, such as by proving citizenship. The court merely stated that under federal law, Arizona must accept both the state voter-registration form and the federal registration form, even though the federal form as currently written does not require proof of citizenship.”
He does acknowledge that he has to defend this law in the courts and assures us that he will not have to use our taxes to do it:
“Furthermore, my office is litigating this suit without spending significant taxpayer dollars. We are not hiring any outside counsel to do the work. Instead, I and the attorneys on my staff are arguing the case ourselves”

Kobach fails to mention that he is employed by the taxpayers and any time he and his staff spend on defending these laws are a waist of the taxpayer’s money.
The bottom line is that his voter ID law prevents voting for a lot of people. His arguments of fraud are absurd. The only logical explanation for this law is to prevent minorities, poor people and immigrants from voting and these just happen to be people who don’t ordinarily vote for Republicans. .

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