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A mountain out of a molehill
New election laws unnecessary
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 It was announced this week that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office has charged three voters in two counties of casting ballots illegally while voting in another state in the same elections. These are the first cases filed under a new state law giving him the power to prosecute election fraud allegations.

Kansas has required voters to show photo ID at the polls since 2012, and the proof-of-citizenship requirement took effect in 2013, making Kansas one of four states with such a rule. 

Kobach argued he also needed the power to pursue election fraud cases because they’re often a low priority for busy prosecutors, but resistance from many lawmakers, including some Republicans, kept them from granting him the power until this year. 

To bad the opposition folded.

Kobach, a conservative Republican and former law professor, won the state’s top elections job in 2010 by describing election fraud as a major problem in Kansas and promising to crack down on it. His critics contend the laws he’s shepherded through the GOP-dominated Legislature, such as a requirement for new voters to document their U.S. citizenship when registering, suppress turnout.

This matter has drawn the attention of the New York Times and Democratic presidential contenders. 

With mounting pressure from Democratic primary challenger Bernie Sanders, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has attacked Kansas election laws. In a statement issued by her campaign, Hillary said Secretary Kobach supported “harsh voting restrictions” on Kansas voters.

“The Hillary Clinton campaign is unhappy with the fact that Kansas has the most secure election system in the country,” Kobach said in a response to the Clinton statement. “In Kansas we recognize that the problem of aliens registering and voting is a serious one. We have already identified more than 30 aliens who either successfully registered before our law went into effect, or attempted to register (and were stopped) after the law went into effect.”

That, he said, is just the tip of the iceberg. 

“Other states, such as Alabama, have copied aspects of the Kansas law. But Hillary wants to move in the opposite direction, supporting a bill that amounts to a federal takeover of the registration process and would result in millions of aliens automatically getting onto the voter rolls. Every time an alien votes, it cancels out the vote of a U.S. citizen. But Hillary doesn’t seem to care about that.” 

Kobach can posture all he wants.

Really? Isn’t this just really making a mountain out of a molehill? 

Hey, Topeka, we have other, serious issues facing our state. Do we really needed to waste our time on this?

He and his GOP cohorts can spin away, but it boils down to another effort by the far right to maintain their hold on the state. Like with the budget debacle, they would rather see Kansas be a laughing stock and perceived as backwards.

This is sad because we all really know this is a state of intelligent, free thinkers. Too bad this isn’t reflected in those we elected to serve us in Topeka.

Dale Hogg