Kobach Tries to Make a Case for Voter Fraud

Kris Kobach, the rising star Republican secretary of state in Kansas, is trying to move beyond his status as the GOP’s chief anti-immigration advocate by taking up the issue of voter fraud. He wrote an op-ed on a radio station website making a ridiculously bad case for the existence of serious voter fraud.

The integrity of elections has been a crucial concern of Kansans since the birth of our state. More than any other state, Kansas was born in an atmosphere of rampant voter fraud. Our first territorial legislative election saw 4,908 fraudulent votes cast (mostly by Missourians). In the ensuing years, many Kansans put themselves at great risk in order to safeguard the integrity of elections.

Uh, yeah. That was in 1855, for crying out loud. It has absolutely nothing to do with elections today.

However, the editorial board recently criticized this law and my work to enforce it. In doing so, the editorial board made two false statements.

First, the editorial board claimed that “when Kobach originally proposed the state’s voter ID law,” “[t]here were only a handful of voter fraud cases.” That is false. The number of cases of voter fraud presented to the Legislature in 2011 was 221. That’s many more than a handful – and those are only the cases that we know about. The actual number is likely much higher.

But as Right Wing Watch points out, that number is actually much higher than actual cases of voter fraud.

In fact, that collection of 221 cases of alleged voter fraud took place over a period of thirteen years, averaging 17 cases a year. When the Wichita Eagle looked into the cases Kobach had listed, they found that many did not amount to voter fraud at all. In one case, Kobach claimed that a dead man had voted; the man, very much alive, disputed that fact. The paper found that other cases Kobach counted were “honest mistakes” with no intent to defraud.

Ultimately, only seven of the 211 cases resulted in convictions.

7 cases. In 13 years. There were more than 1.1 million votes cast in that state in last year’s election. Wow, what a huge problem, certainly worth disenfranchising 17,000 voters with their new voter suppression law.

12 comments on this post.
  1. Gregory in Seattle:

    These claims just irk the Hell out of me. Oregon and Washington have mail-in elections: we don’t have polling places any more. Mail-in elections are far more prone to voter fraud. And yet, Republicans just aren’t screeching about voter fraud in Oregon or Washington. Coincidentally (?), Oregon and Washington has a pretty pale complexion compared to much of the rest of the country.

    The only conclusion I can reach is that Republicans would rather have white people casting fraudulent votes than having people of the “wrong” color cast legitimate votes.

  2. blf:

    …certainly worth disenfranchising 17,000 voters with their new voter suppression law.

    Of course it’s worth it! They are not voting theethug!!1! All 17,000 need to be sent to the FEMA camps and be properly suppressed!!!1!!1

  3. raven:

    Add it to the list. The list the things the christofascists of the Tea Party hate.

    Democracy, voters, and voting. These people don’t want to win elections. They want to rule and they don’t care how they get there.

    It’s worse in Texas. They have discovered that the GOP War on Women is causing them some problems. Why this isn’t a suprise isn’t too clear. But they now are trying to keep the female voter turnout down.

  4. D. C. Sessions:

    In the ensuing years, many Kansans put themselves at great risk in order to safeguard the integrity of elections.

    Yup. Not least by borrowing several pages from Jim Crow and the KKK — like voter caging.

  5. Modusoperandi:

    Gregory in Seattle “The only conclusion I can reach is that Republicans would rather have white people casting fraudulent votes than having people of the ‘wrong’ color cast legitimate votes.”
    Now you’re just being ridiculous. Votes for Democrats by definition are not legitimate.

  6. Trebuchet:

    The only proof the TP’ers need is that there’s a commie-Muslim-socialist-Kenyan-N-word in the White House. That could only have happened through fraud.

  7. dogmeat:

    Even if you accept his “evidence” as valid, this law risks the disenfranchisement of 17,000 people to protect against the “massive” fraud of 221 illegitimate. Even if you pretend that this was a confirmed, single year incidence rate, that gives you 221 cases of fraud out of a total of 1156254 votes, a rate of .0019113447391% in a state where the presidential results were decided by 249901 votes. What evidence does he have that these weren’t randomly distributed fraudulent votes? What if these were all cases of Republican fraud (given the voting demographics of the state, roughly 60% of them would be expected to be). How much will this new law cost to enforce?

    None of this makes any sense from any point of view. The number of votes wont affect anything even if it were true. The cost, both in financial but also in suppressed liberties is greater than the maximum “damage” done by the alleged fraud. By any rational measure this is an idiotic effort; another sign that the Tea Party “nation” isn’t rational but instead a religious cult.

  8. Wylann:

    dogmeat, I’m sure you’re aware of the recent Daily Show interview in NC? (I’m pretty sure Ed blogged about it a few days ago.) The disenfranchising of voters is a feature, not a bug. These republicans know the statistics, and they don’t care, because they also know that they are writing the laws in such a way as to hurt mostly democratic turnout and voting.

    1) Look at the states implementing these laws.
    2) Look at the people who would most be affected.
    3) Examine the general voting trends of those people most affected by these laws.

    It’s pretty obvious, and yet, the SCOTUS upheld the biggest challenge to these laws, claiming the US was ‘post-racism, essentially. Now, go watch that interview again….

    Frankly, I wish TDS could get an interview with Scalia, or any of the other judges who ruled with him on that case, and show them the video of the other interview. I’d love to see their reaction, and the mental gymnastics they would use to continue to justify their position (because we know they won’t change their position based on new information).

  9. dingojack:

    At 7 convictions of voter fraud in 13 years out of 1.1 million voters (this number will rise each election cycle, of course), that means it’d take 1.8571429 voting cycles to turn up one false vote worthy of a conviction.

    How very worrying! *

    Dingo
    ——-
    * How many homicides or rapes are there in Kansas every year? More, or less than 0.5384615?

  10. left0ver1under:

    If the teabaggers were worried about voter fraud, they would be trying to change the rules at least a year before an election. The only reason to do it weeks before an election is to commit voting fraud, by preventing registered voters from entering the booth.

    Arizona’s John Enright also believes in “weeding out” non-white and non-republican voters.

    http://freakoutnation.com/2012/07/26/busted-republican-candidates-companion-voted-for-5-years-after-her-death/

  11. Gregory in Seattle:

    @Wylann #8 – Disenfranchising voters is not merely a feature, it is the core function.

  12. bushrat:

    Soon Mr. Kobach will be right as about 17000 votes will not be counted by the state…of coarse Mr.Kobach is the prime architect of this fraud. Personally I say jail this criminal.

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