Editorials

Kris Kobach is a big fraud on Kansas voter fraud

Kris Kobach’s deer-in-the-headlights look, which is appropriate given his recent failings.
Kris Kobach’s deer-in-the-headlights look, which is appropriate given his recent failings. File photo

Secretary of State Kris Kobach warned Kansas lawmakers last year that he knew of at least 18 suspected cases of double voting in recent elections.

Wait, make that 100 cases!

Kobach threw out these wild claims as he successfully pressed the Legislature to make him the only secretary of state in the nation with the power to prosecute in these matters.

It was all part of Kobach’s continued loathsome attacks on U.S. immigration policy. He knew he could score political points with many Kansans by promising to stop “illegal” voters from canceling out the votes of red-blooded Americans.

But now Kobach has been exposed as a big fraud on the issue of voter fraud, which studies have found to be almost nonexistent in America.

Since the law took effect July 1, 2015, the publicity-seeking Kobach had filed a puny half-dozen cases by early May.

One case against an older Johnson County woman totally embarrassed the usually cocksure Kobach. He had to meekly dismiss it days before it was to go to trial in April.

In the four cases he has won, Kobach went after men 60 years or older who double-voted. None showed any intent to game the system. All were convicted of misdemeanors and paid modest fines.

The Kansas lawmakers who gave Kobach the unique prosecutorial powers look like stooges now. For starters, whatever happened to those 18 suspected cases of double voting, much less the 100 cases?

The Legislature should have listened to real, qualified prosecutors who showed up in Topeka in 2015 to warn lawmakers about Kobach’s power grab. They included Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, representing the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association.

“Any attempts to give prosecutorial power to any office other than the county or district attorney is bad public policy,” the association wrote to lawmakers. The group looks prescient now.

So is Kobach chastened by his failings? Heck, no. He recently doubled down on his ugly and unsubstantiated attacks on immigrants while defending voter ID laws.

“The reason we have to do this is there is a significant problem in Kansas and in the rest of the country of aliens getting on our voting rolls,” Kobach told The Washington Post. “With so many close elections in Kansas, having a handful of votes that are cast by aliens can swing an election.”

Notably, Kobach hasn’t exposed a single example of that happening in Kansas among the cases he has filed.

The Legislature in 2017 should wrest away from Kobach the powers it wrongly gave this oh-so-dangerous public official.

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