The McPherson Sentinel (our paper) publishes a series called Insight Kansas, which features political commentators and political scientists at state universities commenting on events of interest. Recently one of those writers, Burdett Loomis, took Kris Kobach, Republican candidate for Kansas Secretary of State, to task for (in his opinion) inflating the problem of voter fraud (The reincarnation of Phill Kline). Kobach requested a chance to respond. That response is printed below.
Illegal immigration and voter fraud are very real problems
Recently, The Sentinel published an editorial by KU professor and former Sebelius administrative communications director Burdett Loomis criticizing my candidacy for Kansas Secretary of State. Loomis claims that two problems that I have focused on in my career—illegal immigration and voter fraud—are “imaginary” problems in Kansas. He is sadly mistaken.
I have devoted many years to fighting illegal immigration—both as Counsel to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, and as an attorney who defends cities and states that are trying to stop illegal immigration. Most recently, I co-authored the Arizona immigration law, SB 1070. As Secretary of State, I will fight to stop voter fraud in Kansas.
Both problems are significant ones in Kansas, but don’t expect Loomis to admit it. His editorial is long on liberal rhetoric, but short on facts.
Regarding illegal immigration, Loomis claims that, “Seven hundred miles from the Mexican (or Canadian) border … illegal immigration just is not a major problem in Kansas.” He offers no evidence whatsoever to back up his claim.
The facts tell a very different story. According to estimates based on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, there are approximately 70,000 illegal aliens in Kansas. Of those, approximately 40,000 are working—taking jobs that would otherwise go to U.S. citizens or to legal aliens. Meanwhile, 97,000 Kansans are unemployed and trying to put food on the table.
In addition to the jobs taken from U.S. citizens, illegal immigration costs Kansas taxpayers more that $82 million dollars a year. In short, Loomis’ claim that illegal immigration is not a major problem in Kansas is absurd.
Loomis is even more dismissive of the problem of voter fraud in Kansas, calling it a “figment of [my] imagination.” But once again, he ignores the facts.
In February 2008, the Kansas Secretary of State’s office documented that, during 1998-2008, more than 75 cases of voter fraud were reported, distributed among eleven Kansas counties. In Wyandotte County alone, more than 50 cases of voter fraud were reported. The vast majority of those cases were not investigated further or prosecuted.
We must also recognize that voter fraud is very difficult to detect, so the 75-plus cases that we know about are only the tip of the iceberg.
If we continue to turn a blind eye to voter fraud, it will only increase in the future. The time has come to stop voter fraud in Kansas. If I am elected Secretary of State, protecting the integrity of our elections will be my top priority.
I support requiring voters to present photo ID when they vote, and requiring newly-registered voters to prove their citizenship when they register. I will also take steps to ensure that the prosecution of voter fraud actually occurs.
There is overwhelming support for photo ID laws. A recent Rasmussen poll showed that 82 percent of Americans favor requiring a photo ID at the polls. If we can present a photo ID to cash a check or board a plane, we can certainly present one to protect our most important privilege of citizenship.
Kansans will have a clear choice on this issue when they cast their votes on Nov. 2. I hope that they will agree with me that we must take these reasonable steps to protect the fairness of our elections.
Kris W. Kobach is a Professor of Law at UMKC School of Law and a resident of Piper, Kansas. He is the Republican candidate for the office of Kansas Secretary of State.