Secretary of State wants to create two-tiered system of voting
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach just can’t seem to quit tinkering with perceived voter ID and fraud issues. One would think that they are all his office deals with, though Kobach’s duties go well beyond being the chief elections officer in the state.
Kobach’s latest irritant is what he sees as the difference between federal and state elections and who is allowed to vote. The two-tiered system he is proposing would let Kansans who have proved their citizenship to vote in congressional and state elections. Those who meet only federal voting standards, which do not have the voter ID requirement, could vote in federal elections but not state.
That’s the Kobach way. It is a convoluted system that clearly underscores the secretary’s “my way or the highway” views of making voting a chore instead of an honor.
Both Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have declared that voters who use the federal form do not have to provide ID to prove their voting rights. But Kobach turns the other way when faced with issues that conflict with his beliefs.
His office sent a memo to all election officials in the state that outlined procedures to identify and track voters who use the federal form for voter registration. Kobach’s mandate would create a separate category for voters eligible only to vote in congressional and presidential elections.
“Many counties probably have had very few federal forms submitted over the years,” Election Director Brad Bryant stated in a memo to county officials. “(But) this means you should take note when a federal form comes to your office and keep a list of the names of individuals who submit them. ...”
Few use the federal form, as Bryant noted, which is eerily similar to the scenario when Kobach originally proposed the state’s voter ID law. There were only a handful of voter fraud cases, and most hinged on misidentification, not out and out fraud. Kobach made it seem at the time that fraud was rampant in the state when it was not.
Kobach seems intent on making voting less and less appealing and adding to the already burdensome workload of county election officials. Some county officials declined comment in a Wichita Eagle story. Others did not hold back.
“It would be a nightmare for us,” Sherman County Clerk Janet Rumpel said.
Clearly Kobach wants to assert his unsolicited and questionable political views on federal voting guidelines, which undoubtedly he thinks should include additional proof of citizenship beyond what already is required.
— The Hutchinson News