SOS IN THE NEWS
Secretary of State Kobach on Kansas Election Security
Produced jointly by Time Warner Cable and Comcast 05/21/2013
Newsmakers Television Interview, host Nancy Lewis, Public Relations Director at the Independence School District
Arizona in Court: Oral arguments on the legality of requiring voters to prove citizenship seemed inconclusive.
By Kris Kobach 03/20/2013
Kansas Secretary of State
On Monday, March 18, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. The case epitomizes both the radicalism of the Obama Justice Department and the extremes of the doctrine of federal preemption, under which judges find supposed conflicts between federal and state law, thereby invalidating the latter, often by stretching the intent of federal lawmakers. Further, the case is a challenge to a law that most people regard as a matter of common sense.
Arizona is one of four states that have had the temerity to ask newly registering voters to prove that they are U.S. citizens (the others are Kansas, Georgia, and Alabama). All four adopted their laws in response to a massive and growing problem — the presence of huge numbers of aliens on states’ voter rolls across the country. In some states, such as Colorado and Florida, the relevant officials have recently estimated the number of enfranchised aliens in the thousands. The problem is especially troublesome because, once an alien gets on the voter rolls, it is extremely difficult to identify him as an alien and take him off.
Read more at National Review
Kansas Voter ID Success
By Collin Levy 08/09/2012
When Kansas passed its voter ID law in 2011, Democrats howled that the new law, which required people to show a birth certificate or a passport when they registered to vote and a photo ID at the polls, would discourage voters from participating in the election. At the time, Democratic state Senator Ann Mah told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that the law meant "grass-roots registration will almost come to a halt." Activist group KanVote (made up of groups like the ACLU and the League of Women Voters) blasted the law as "new voter suppression measures."
It didn't turn out that way. In the first state-wide test of the Kansas voter ID law, things went smoothly. In Tuesday's primary election, turnout in the state was higher than in the last presidential election year of 2008. Altogether, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said 392,000 Kansans cast ballots, nearly 23 percent of the state's 1.7 million registered voters, compared to 22.45 percent in 2008. The photo ID requirements took effect January 1 of this year and the new registration requirements will begin in 2013.
Voters came out in higher numbers than expected to register their displeasure with a cadre of liberal Republican state senators who had banded together with Democrats to thwart Republican Governor Sam Brownback's legislative priorities, including tax reform. The spike came despite the absence of statewide races on the ballot that usually increase voter interest. According to local station KWCH in Sedgwick County, polling stations were reporting no major problems beyond a few cranky voters.
Kansas is one of a handful of states, including Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania that have passed voter ID laws in recent years attended by predictions of gloom and doom from Democrats, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP and Attorney General Eric Holder. Perhaps the uneventful day in Kansas will calm their nerves. Nah.
The Wall Street Journal
Kris Kobach: Elections must be secure
By Kris Kobach 01/24/2012
Kansas Secretary of State
Last year, the Legislature enacted the Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act, which was drafted by my office. The SAFE Act combines three elements: a requirement that voters present photo IDs when they vote in person; a requirement that voters who vote by mail present a full driver’s license number and have their signatures verified; and a proof of citizenship requirement for all newly registered voters.
The first two provisions are already in effect. The third — the proof of citizenship requirement — was drafted to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, but a Senate committee last year inserted an amendment to delay it until Jan. 1, 2013. I have asked the Legislature to move the starting date up to June 15, 2012, in order to prevent additional aliens from being registered to vote in Kansas.
In a Jan. 16 editorial, The Topeka Capital-Journal editorial board argued that the state should wait until after the 2012 elections to implement the proof of citizenship requirement. The editorial board’s arguments are faulty on numerous fronts.
Read more at The Topeka Capital-Journal
Aimed in the Right Direction
By Michael Pearce 09/11/2011
TOPEKA — Up at 6 a.m. for an hour's drive to a politician's rally isn't an ideal Saturday morning for most 8-year-olds.
Cayden Harper would have left home earlier and traveled farther Saturday morning if need-be.
"My favorite thing is getting to the range and shooting archery," said Harper, of Kansas City. "I really like shooting arrows."
Harper was one of about 24 kids attending Secretary of State Kris Kobach's Ad Astra Archery Tournament at a Topeka park.
"It's a start," Kobach said of the attendance. "Hopefully these kids will tell their friends and we'll keep growing through the years."
Mixing bows, arrows and kids is nothing new to Kobach."
Read more at The Wichita Eagle
Securing the Integrity of Our Elections
By Hans von Spakovsky 07/20/2011
Laws requiring voters to present valid identification before casting their ballots are growing in popularity. Six states -Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Kansas - have recently passed voter ID laws, and more have them under consideration.
Opponents of these laws have raised absurd objections, equating passage with the reimposition of Jim Crow and asserting that the real motive is to suppress voter turnout. Such rancorous attacks defy common sense and the views of the American people. Requiring voters to authenticate their identity is necessary to ensure the integrity and security of our election process.
Voter ID can help prevent impersonation fraud at the polls, voting under fictitious voter registrations, double voting by individuals registered in more than one state and voting by illegal aliens. As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized when it upheld Indiana's voter ID law in 2008, "flagrant examples of such fraud have been documented throughout this Nation's history by respected historians and journalists."
That opinion was written by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Though one of the most liberal members of the Supreme Court, Justice Stevens had practiced law in Chicago before serving on the court. Small wonder he found the claim that voter fraud does not exist to be absurd.
Read more at The Heritage Foundation
Wall Street Journal Praises Kansas's Secure and Fair Elections Act
[Bill] Clinton is talking about states like Kansas, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and the notoriously Confederate state of Rhode Island that have instituted or tightened voter laws this year.
These states are trying to reduce the incidence of voter fraud, which if not epidemic is hardly unknown in America. The liberal group Acorn's widespread voter-registration fraud in recent years drew national attention to the problem and criminal actions. The 2008 Minnesota Senatorial race, where a legal challenge over the validity of absentee ballots decided the outcome by 312 votes, was another warning sign. Kansas received 221 reports of voter fraud between 1997 and 2010, according to a recent op-ed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Voter ID laws can't fix every problem, but they are a start. As the Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky points out, these laws prevent voters from impersonating someone else, make it harder for a person to vote at multiple locations and block illegal aliens from voting. Some states, like Kansas, are also reforming voting-registration laws and absentee-ballot rules to ensure up-to-date voter rolls.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal
States Dispute Criticism of New Voter Laws, Move to Offer Photo ID Free of Charge
By Judson Berger 07/20/2011
Election officers in states with newly approved voter ID laws are trying to make sure voters can meet the new requirements without much hassle, pushing back on complaints that the laws are tantamount to a "poll tax."
Seven states this year have approved new laws requiring or urging voters to show photo ID before casting their ballots. Critics have assailed these measures as a partisan Republican scheme to skew elections by disenfranchising voters who might be inclined to vote for Democrats but lack the proper identification.
But officials in those states say the criticism is unfair. All seven states are moving to offer residents at least one version of a photo ID card free of charge.
Read more at FoxNews.com
Voter Photo ID Laws Are Good Protection Against Fraud
By KRIS W. KOBACH 07/13/2011
A Post editorial last month criticized Kansas's Secure and Fair Elections Act, which was drafted by my office. The act requires that voters present photo identification when they vote in person, that absentee voters present full driver's license numbers and have their signatures verified, and that voters present proof of citizenship at the time of registration.
The June 22 editorial also criticized other states that moved in this direction during their 2011 legislative sessions. Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina adopted photo ID requirements; Alabama also enacted a proof-of-citizenship requirement for registration similar to Kansas's.
The editorial asserted that voter fraud is a "minuscule" problem and that I failed to show that any of the 221 incidents of voter fraud reported in Kansas between 1997 and 2010 resulted in convictions.
In fact, I presented this information to the Kansas legislature in January, and the numbers were extensively reported by the media.
Read more at The Washington Post
Voter ID Statutes Gaining Popularity
Those in Oklahoma who believe our new voter ID law is burdensome, and there are some who do, ought to take a look at the law approved recently in Kansas.
The Sunflower State now requires that voters show a photo ID when voting in person, that absentee voters present their driver's license number and have their signatures verified, and that all newly registered voters provide proof of citizenship. It's the only state with such an extensive checklist.
Read more at The Oklahoman
The Case for Voter ID
By KRIS W. KOBACH 05/23/2011
On Thursday, the Wisconsin legislature sent a bill requiring photographic identification for voting to Gov. Scott Walker's desk. This follows the enactment of an even stricter law in Kansas a few weeks ago.
Drafted by my office, Kansas's Secure and Fair Elections Act combined three elements: (1) a requirement that voters present photo IDs when they vote in person; (2) a requirement that absentee voters present a full driver's license number and have their signatures verified; and (3) a proof of citizenship requirement for all newly registered voters. Although a few states, including Georgia, Indiana and Arizona, have enacted one or two of these reforms, Kansas is the only state to enact all three.
Other states are moving in the same direction. The Texas legislature sent a photo-ID bill to Gov. Rick Perry's desk last Monday. And next year Missouri voters will get a chance to vote on a photo-ID requirement.
Immediately after the Kansas law was signed in April, critics cried foul. They argued that voter fraud isn't significant enough to warrant such steps, that large numbers of Americans don't possess photo IDs, and that such laws will depress turnout among the poor and among minorities. They are wrong on all three counts.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal
Kansas Moves to Assure Honest Elections
By: Hans A. von Spakovsky 04/15/11
As the 2012 primary season rapidly approaches, it is good to see states taking steps necessary to improve the security and integrity of the election process.
One big step in the right direction will come on April 18 when Republican Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas is expected to sign into law HB 2067, one of the best examples of common sense election reforms.
HB 2067 was the brain child of Kris Kobach, Kansas' new secretary of state. A very smart lawyer who worked for U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft at the Justice Department, Kobach gained national attention last year for helping members of the Arizona Legislature draft their immigration bill. Now he has turned his talents to improving election procedures.
Read more at the Washington Examiner