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Numbers don’t match Kobach’s message

Voter fraud has become a hot topic in the race for Kansas Secretary of State, as Republican nominee Kris Kobach has made it a central plank in his campaign. However, looking at statistics, there seems to be a disconnect between Kobach’s message on voter fraud and the reality of the situation.

Kansas law defines election crimes as including, but not limited to, voting in place of another person, registering to vote for another person, voter intimidation, electioneering at a polling place, intimidation of poll workers, double voting, failure to deliver advance ballots to the election office as directed by a voter and voting without being qualified.

Kobach’s campaign website states, “Voter fraud is a very real problem in Kansas. Election crimes have been documented across the state—from fraudulent registrations, to vote-by-mail fraud. As the activities of ACORN have demonstrated, organizations that promote voter fraud have burrowed into every corner of our country. In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive.”

When asked, Kobach campaign spokesperson Ben Smith said the campaign is basing all of its statements on information provided by the Secretary of State’s office. However, according to statistics provided by the Secretary of State’s office, a total of seven cases were referred to local, state or federal authorities in the past five years regarding election crimes. Out of those seven, only one was prosecuted, and none dealt with unqualified voters.

“There is no evidence of major voter fraud,” said Secretary of State Director of Public Affairs Abbie Hodgson.

Hodgson pointed out that what many might consider cases of voter fraud are, in fact, instances of people requesting absentee ballots on behalf of others, or helping others vote.

As far as the issue of illegal immigrants registering to vote, Hodgson said the Secretary of State’s office has no evidence or documentation of that happening.

“We have no anecdotal evidence from the counties (of illegal immigrants voting). We have found instances of legal immigrants registering to vote,” Hodgson said. “What happens is that when legal immigrants come in to apply for a drivers license, the workers at the Department of Motor Vehicles ask them, as required by the Motor Voter Act, if they would like to register.”

Hodgson said that their office routinely cross checks information with the Department of Revenue to spot these cases, and the registration is revoked. In 2009, 46 such registrations were discovered, with two instances of actual votes being cast. The Secretary of State’s office is working on better signage and training by DMV workers to avoid this.

The Kobach campaign was asked by The Sentinel to provide clarification, in light of these statistics and documents, on how voter fraud is “pervasive”, and whether or not the Secretary of State’s office has been negligent in either investigating or dealing with voter fraud. The campaign was also asked to provide evidence of groups such as ACORN engaging in activities that directly influenced the outcome of elections in Kansas. No responses were received.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Numbers don’t match Kobach’s message

  1. http://kansas.watchdog.org/4420/126000-voters-with-unknown-or-invalid-mailing-addresses-in-kansas/ Discusses the 126,000 “voters” with unknown, or invalid mailing addresses and no one in the current office, or his predecessor, seem to care.

    I can also tell you that in the metro area around KC vote fraud is a large issue, particularly using the mail-in votes.

    Posted by altevogt | August 21, 2010, 5:27 pm
  2. The Kansas Watchdog article is interesting…but it’s as if the 126,000 number is taken out of thin air. There’s no citation or sourcing.

    The sourcing may be solid and may have simply been neglected in the copy itself, but until I see the citation, I’m skeptical of that number.

    Secondly, a previous Kansas Watchdog article from February (http://kansas.watchdog.org/2645/kansas-has-almost-116000-voters-with-unknown-addresses/) delves a bit more into this unknown address number and states that the number of unknown addresses are required to remain on the voting lists by law.

    The article’s frets about possible voter fraud are also highly circumstantial: “Analysis from past years suggests that less than 1 percent of inactive voters normally vote in an August Primary, but about 10 percent vote in a November General election. This means that about 100 “inactive” voters may be casting ballots in each state representative election in a November general election but may not live at their last known mailing address in the district.”

    Suggests, may be, may not. Not exactly thundering verbs of confidence.

    There’s no evidence from this article whatsoever that any significant number of these inactive voters are actually illegal immigrants trying or desiring to vote. What appears far more likely is that most these cases are people that have not voted in a long time or have moved and failed to register in a different location.

    I’m not against having safeguards to prevent non-citizens from voting, but the case that there is a significant voting fraud problem to begin with seems flimsy, especially in Kansas.

    The evidence just doesn’t seem to be there. Someone needs to show me the hard numbers that support these sweeping claims.

    From Kobach’s campaign: “As the activities of ACORN have demonstrated, organizations that promote voter fraud have burrowed into every corner of our country. In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive.”

    This statement just doesn’t hold up logically.

    The argument is invalid. The conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow from the premise – the activities of ACORN don’t demonstrate that organizations that promote voter fraud are everywhere, all it can speak to is the activities of ACORN itself. It would be like saying, “As the activities of Jeffrey Dahmer demonstrates, cannibalists have burrowed themselves into every corner of our country.”

    Well, actually no, they haven’t. And in any case, in no way do the activities of Jeff Dahmer prove or disprove there are other cannibalists in America.

    It may sound pretty and convincing, but it’s pretty hollow logically.

    That’s just the logic of Kobach’s statement, leave alone the seemingly non-existent evidence which supports it.

    And finally, I would challenge altevogt to actually produce evidence for his or her claim that voting fraud in the KC area is “large issue,” by which I assume the writer means substantively, and not just politically.

    Posted by joshan12 | August 23, 2010, 12:16 am
  3. Requesting “hard numbers” of illegal activity is simply silly. How would one obtain such “hard numbers”. The comparison with Jeffery Dahmer is also specious. One looks for indicators of criminal behavior and absent those indicators one could conclude that that the behavior is absent.

    In the case of vote fraud we do have evidence and indicators of such behavior. I recall articles in The Pitch detailing races in KCMO of interference by organizations like Freedon Inc. involving advance, mail-in ballots. There is also evidence in races in KCK where the vote totals from election day are widely at variance with the tallies of votes submitted via the mail. Additionally, poll watching is virtually non existent in many inner city areas and anyone familiar with urban politics is familiar with the many schemes used to maintain control by the big city machines.

    Across the country ACORN’s excesses has been well documented. What is it you think they’re doing with all of those thousands of phony registrations? Are you arguing that this is just some inner city sport, a competition to register non-existent voters that is never actually used to alter an election.

    The indicators are there for any objective analyst to discover, but those who benefit from the fraud will always conclude that the evidence is not compelling.

    Posted by altevogt | August 23, 2010, 9:44 am

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  1. Pingback: Today’s Matters: Do Democrats have a chance? « What's the Matter in Kansas? - August 22, 2010

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