Kansas is one of those schizophrenic states that produce movers and shakers on both sides of the aisle, plus a lot of moderates like Viagra pitchman Bob Dole. The same state that has conservative Republican Sam Brownback as governor most recently sent Democrat and former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to Washington, where she pursues nationalized health care and persecution of Catholic hospitals with the same zeal with which she championed abortion back in the Sunflower State.
The most encouraging news out of Kansas is that the state is taking the lead in cleaning up registration rolls so that people won’t vote in two states or vote after they’ve died, which is alarming news for Chicago and other cities where the dead vote early and often.
The architect of what is called the Kansas Project, or the Interstate Cross Check Project, is Kris W. Kobach, the Republican secretary of state, who was elected in 2010. Mr. Kobach has set up a database with 14 other states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee. Six more states are considering joining.
“Double voting is a real common form of voter fraud,” Mr. Kobach told me in a phone interview. “But it’s easy to discover and to prosecute. You have a rock-solid legal case that the crime was committed.”
He noted that Arizona recently found 500 voters still on its rolls who also are registered in one of the other 14 states. Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler used the cooperative agreement to turn up several people who had voted in both Colorado and Kansas in 2010.
Kansas itself has the most comprehensive photo ID law in the nation. Voters must show a valid photo ID at the polls and a verified signature and photo ID when registering for absentee ballots. A third requirement - proof of U.S. citizenship - will not be enforced until January 2013. Mr. Kobach had promoted a bill that would have activated that provision before the November elections, but it was killed by GOP Senate President Steve Morris, who assigned the bill to a hostile committee.
Which brings us back to the curious state of Kansas politics. The GOP controls all six statewide constitutional offices and has a supermajority in the Kansas House of Representatives and the Kansas Senate. Republicans also have both U.S. Senate seats and all four U.S. House seats.
Given the GOP’s 32-8 Senate advantage, one would think conservative legislation would be a slam-dunk. But many of the elephants are RINOs (Republicans in name only). “You’ve got a razor-thin liberal majority in the Senate when the eight Democrats are added to the mix,” said a Kansas political observer.
However, as Yogi Berra might say, the status quo is not what it used to be. In the August primaries, conservatives are vying to unseat RINOs, including Mr. Morris. Given recent upsets by Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock over moderate GOP Sen. Richard G. Lugar, and state Sen. Deb Fischer’s victory in the Nebraska GOP Senate primary after being endorsed by Sarah Palin, the Kansas RINOs probably should be nervous.
Vote fraud has been around since elections began but has been a more persistent vice in America since Bill Clinton in 1993 signed the National Voter Registration Act (“Motor Voter Law”), which requires states to offer voter registration to people when they obtain driver’s licenses or apply for welfare or unemployment benefits. States must purge people who died, moved out of state, are convicted of crimes or listed more than once, but two federal election cycles must pass before a name is removed.
“Examiners were under orders not to ask anyone for identification or proof of citizenship,” John Fund writes in his book “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy.” “States also had to permit mail-in voter registration, which allowed anyone to register without any personal contact with a registrar or election official.”
In 2002, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) tightened vote-counting systems and spawned statewide databases. The latter are a gold mine for researchers such as those at the Pew Center on the States, which recently reported that 1.8 million dead people remain on voter rolls.
As usual, Democrats are hysterically attacking any anti-fraud reforms.
Asked about Jesse Jackson’s claim that voter ID laws “suppress the minority vote,” Mr. Kobach minces no words: “I think that’s a ludicrous charge. It’s so patently absurd to argue that requiring a photo ID in order to vote is racist. His argument itself is somewhat racist. He’s suggesting that a person’s skin color affects his ability to go down to an office and get a free photo ID.”
In local elections this spring in 50 Kansas counties, of 65,813 votes cast, just 81 people showed up at the polls lacking a photo ID, Mr. Kobach said. “And most of those had a photo ID but just forgot to bring it. They were all given provisional ballots and could later bring in a photo ID to make it count.”
The overheated liberal rhetoric often is accompanied by statistics from the left-wing Brennan Center, which reported in 2006 that 11 percent of all American adults lack a photo ID and more recently claimed that as many as 25 percent of blacks and 16 percent of Hispanics lack a photo ID.
Think about that. It means that millions of adults don’t drive, cash checks, receive welfare, get married, buy beer or cigarettes, board an airliner or do any of the other innumerable activities that routinely require a photo ID.
If they can’t legally do any of those things, what are they doing at the polls? For one thing, they shouldn’t be voting in Topeka if they’re not in Kansas anymore.
Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.