Butler County Times Gazette
  • Kobach outlines plans if re-elected

  • If elected to a second term, Kobach will continue with the third phase of voter ID
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  • In his first term in office Secretary of State Kris Kobach focused on voter registration and voter ID reform.
    His first two goals were to draft a voter ID law and get it passed, then to implement the law. Both of which he has now done.
    If elected to a second term, Kobach will continue with the third phase of voter ID, which is to defend the new requirements in court.
    "I knew the ACLU would attack," he said.
    The state is currently involved in three lawsuits, one of which they brought against the Elections Assistance Commission along with Arizona. The two states brought the lawsuit in order to plug a loophole in the federal voter registration form making it require proof of citizenship. The lawsuit had been suggested by the Supreme Court, when it ruled the federal form had to be allowed by states.
    Kobach's goal is to see a lot of states adopt the Kansas model for voter registration requirements and voter ID.
    He has been going to meetings with secretaries of state and talking about his plan. Through that, Alabama passed the proof of citizenship law Kansas has and Pennsylvania passed an absentee ballot law like Kansas's.
    Voter registration laws are important to Kobach. In his research he found 235 cases of voter fraud over 13 years in Kansas.
    "Those are just the tip of the iceberg," he said.
    While requiring ID to vote will not prevent fraud, Kobach said it is a deterrent.
    Those opposing the new law say it will keep people from voting and discriminate against certain groups, but Kobach said that is not the case.
    In Kansas in the 2012 general election there were 1.2 million voters. Of those, 838 did not bring a photo ID with them. For those who did not have an ID, they were still allowed to cast a provisional ballot then had to bring in their ID within a week after the election. He said 306 brought in their ID.
    Kobach pointed out only .07 percent of voters forgot their ID.
    "It shows we are a society that carries our photo ID," he said.
    He said they also checked those who did not bring in an ID and they virtually all had a driver's license.
    Kobach likes the idea of showing an ID because he said it is "very unlikely someone will try to come in with someone else's ID."
    For those who do still try to commit voter fraud, Kobach is working to get prosecutorial authority to stop it. Currently, voter fraud cases are sent to the county attorney offices where it occurred, but he said because of the amount of cases county attorneys already have they often are never prosecuted.
    Page 2 of 2 - Kobach is asking the legislature to allow a fine of $1,000 or $2,000 and the ability for the judge to take away a person's right to vote if they commit fraud.
    One of the main ways people commit voter fraud is by moving and voting in their old district as well as their new one, especially when that is in two different states.
    "We are the host of an interstate cross check program," Kobach said.
    There are 30 states that now participate in the program which checks to make sure voters are not registered in more than one state.
    Kobach has more than doubled the states participating in that program.
    He also supported a bill during his last term that would have changed the deadline to change one's party affiliation, moving it back so a person cannot do that right before an election. He thinks this bill will be back before Congress since it was not voted on during the last session.
    In addition to the election side of the secretary of state office, Kobach also has been working on some plans to help businesses.
    He said they have launched the Kansas Business Center Web site, a one-stop shop for multiple actions for people starting up a business. This keeps a person from having to contact multiple state departments or visiting them in person.
    "It will allow people to do all they need to from home to start a business," Kobach said.
    He hopes to complete this in his second term.
    Also on the business side, he has had his office begin charting business start-ups each year, with the number of new businesses being formed announced every January.
    Kobach was in the area Monday as he kicked off his fundraising campaign in Wichita that evening.
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